A new novel by Iceland’s most popular crime author, Arnaldur Indridason, hit the Icelandic market last week. Entitled Einvígid (“The Duel”), it features the historic match between chess grandmasters Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, representing USA and Russia, in Reykjavík in 1972, at the height of the Cold War.
Considering the time in which the story is set, the book is not part of the Detective Erlendur Series. Rather, Erlendur’s mentor, Detective Marion Briem, who is given the task of investigating the assault of a teenage boy in the cinema, is in the spotlight.
By coincidence, another popular crime author, Óttar M. Nordfjörd, who visir.is describes as the “crown prince” of Icelandic suspense literature while Indridason is “the king”, will also release a book inspired by the chess duel before the upcoming Christmas book sale season (a phenomenon known as jólabókaflód in Icelandic).
“It’s ridiculous, I sort of didn’t believe it at first,” Nordfjörd commented. His book is called Lygarinn: Sönn saga (“The Liar: True Story”), although he had also considered Einvígid.
As for the competition with Indridason, Nordfjörd added: “To have a book on the same topic as this selling machine is a little nuts. It will definitely be the most interesting Christmas book sale season I’ve participated in.”
“It’s a question whether Arnaldur and I should play a game of chess. I challenge him!” Nordfjörd concluded.
While Indridason’s books have appeared on the English-language market, none of Nordfjörd’s books have been released in English.
According to a press release from Vaka-Helgafell, Einvígid’s publisher in Iceland, The Guardian recently compiled a list of the best contemporary European crime authors and Indridason was included. His books have sold in millions of copies around the world. This is his 15th novel.
In other literature news, Icelandic author Gyrdir Elíasson is this year’s recipient of the Nordic Council Literature Prize.
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