The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, Trans. by Victoria Cribb #Orentober

An exquisitely written, disturbing, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric thriller

Book blurb

First in the electrifying FORBIDDEN ICELAND series, by one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents.

When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.

Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her collegues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day …

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.

My thoughts

With an enigmatic but appealing lead character in Elma we have a dark, disturbing story. Elma has left Reykjavik to start over in her home town of Akranes. Her relationship of nine years with David has ended quite suddenly and it has devastated Elma, she hadn’t seen it coming.

Elma is a Police detective and has started a new job with the Police in Akranes. As she is settling into the job and her new home she is called to a murder scene. A woman has been found in the water at the old lighthouse. It is clear that she was murdered. Who is she? Why would someone wish to kill her?

The book is set in the recent past and is intermingled with the story of a young girl some years earlier.

As Elma and her colleagues investigate the murder a truly appalling thought builds in Elma. As she examines pieces of evidence and follows up, sometimes without telling her boss who will not be very happy about it, Elma brings together a body of information that leads to only one conclusion as far as she is concerned. Will this lead to who killed the woman in the water?

The story that unfolds is both chilling and heartbreaking. All the more so as what happens in the concluding chapters brings a very sad, unbalanced, inequitable, surprising but likely ending.

It highlights how inadequate the safeguards for young children were and, sadly, I fear often still are. This is a story of how abuse can go on right under your nose and yet it is not seen, not believed or not wanted to be seen or believed. It is that thing of not wanting to interfere, not knowing how to interfere or being scared of interfering in case you’re wrong or may suffer consequences for speaking up. In a town where very one knows everyone else and everyone’s business how do these things happen? Were people do terrible things safe in the knowledge that no one will tell – is it through ignorance, fear or apathy? Perhaps, it’s the arrogance that so often seems to come with power and a sense of entitlement.

This is a gripping, well written story. It is not graphic nor is it gory and yet it is clear in every word, sentence and chapter how dreadful each crime is. This is a compelling and engrossing tale which will linger long in the memory.

This book, the first book in the Forbidden Iceland series, has introduced to the U.K. a new writer who will surely further enhance the reputation that Iceland has for amazing talent in storytelling.

Book: Purchased (eBook from KOBO|Physical book from @warwick_books )


I joined the zoom launch for Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardottir and The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir. The event was introduced by Karen Sullivan. The authors were joined by the translators and Dr. Noir, Jacky Collins, sat in the interviewer chair. 

If you would like to watch it’s up on YouTube Book Launch – Dr. Noir, Jacky Collins interviews Lilja Sigurdardottir, Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir and translators Victoria Cribb and Quentin Bates live on ZOOM to celebrate the publication of Lilja’s stunning standalone thriller BETRAYAL and Eva’s chillingly atmospheric THE CREAK ON THE STAIRS. 

You can order your signed copies, whilst available, from partners for the event Warwick Books: WEBSITE: EMAIL: PHONE: 0192649993

Of course! – even though I already had the eBooks – Yes, I bought the signed version too. Books – just love them!


Published: Orenda Books (October 2020)

First published in Iceland with the title Marrið í stiganum by Veröld Publishing, 2018

Buy: Orenda Books|KOBO|Waterstones |AmazonSmileUK |Your local bookshop


Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel.

Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland. Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller.

Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.

*Winner of the Storytel Award for Best Crime Novel 2020
*Winner of the Blackbird Award for Best Icelandic Crime Novel
*Shortlisted for two Amazon Publishing Readers Award: Best Independent Voice and Best Debut Novel

Translator: Victoria Cribb studied and worked in Iceland for many years. She has translated more than 30 novels from the Icelandic and, in 2017, she received the Orðstír honorary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.


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