Council (The Helga Finnsdottir Mysteries)

Written by Snorri Kristjansson
Review by Mike Ashworth

Helga Finnsdottir has settled near King Erik’s court in Uppsala. Her reputation as a healer is spreading, and her life seems settled; she is even in a relationship of sorts. The King has summoned all those who owe him fealty to a King’s Council. Before the Council even begins there is tension and mistrust between the groups attending, and news of an imminent attack serves only to inflame tempers. When the body of an unknown boy is found near the river, only Helga suspects murder. However, she finds that no one is interested in the death of a nobody when death and destruction are threatening. Only when a second body appears does anyone take notice, but it is difficult to worry about murder when you are facing an army of raiders intent on wiping out everyone, aided by a traitor at the heart of the court.

With a very strong plot and characterisation, this is much more than just a murder mystery. Indeed, the murders are almost incidental to the action, and the interplay between the main characters. The author brings alive the culture and times, and the characters are strong and believable. This is the second in what I predict will be a long and rewarding series. More please.