Chilled to the Bone is the third book by Quentin Bates to feature Sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir. Set in Iceland the tale starts when an elderly ship owner is found dead, tied to a bed in a fancy Reykjavik hotel. It is a tale of bondage, blackmail and government secrets. Underlying it all is a typically female crime – theft. Women so often commit crimes to look after their family and our character in this case has come up with a genius, although somewhat short-term method of getting what she needs.
The book is an enjoyable read, the most challenging aspects are the Icelandic names and the frustration faced by Gunnhildur when questioning stony faced government officials. I enjoyed it just as much as Quentin Bate’s other book Thin Ice which we also reviewed. The mystery is unraveled at a steady pace and comes to a satisfying conclusion. If you have visited Reykjavik you may recognise some of the locations and you will certainly feel the weather as you read. It contains some violence and quite a bit of swearing as well as the bondage so perhaps not one for granny’s Christmas stocking (unless she likes that sort of stuff!).
You can hear Quentin Bates moderate a panel on New Blood in Icelandic Fiction at this year’s Iceland Noir Festival on Thursday 17 November at 16.00 (with Ingvi Thór Kormáksson, Hildur Sif Thorarensen, Kristján Atli Ragnarsson and Óskar Guðmundsson). Furthermore Quentin bates has written a really interesting piece about his personal Iceland Noir essential five here. Follow the link to see what books he recommends.