I've returned from my first ever trip to Iceland. It's a country I've wanted to visit for years, but I never seemed to get round to it. Then a few months ago, I was invited to take part in the local crime festival, Iceland Noir, and the temptation proved irresistible. All the more so because I was asked to take part on a panel about Golden Age detective fiction moderated by the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir - see above: it was once in a lifetime opportunity!
My first glimpse of the country wasn't entirely encouraging, mind you. The drab weather was warmer and wetter than I'd anticipated - it seemed all too Mancunian, really. But I soon found my way around, and the weather gradually improved. The festival was held at Idno, which combines a theatre space with a nice cafe, just across the way from the City Hall, which like Idno is on the edge of the "pond", or "lake", a pleasing stretch of water right in the city centre.
Katrin Jakobsdottir proved to be charming and extremely knowledgeable about Golden Age fiction. She was an excellent moderator, and the panel was great fun. Also taking part was that terrific young writer Ragnar Jonasson, and Katrin's brother Armann Jakobsson, a prominent academic who is also a great fan of the genre's classics. Both Armann and Katrin had read The Golden Age of Murder, and had nice things to say about it, which of course I found hugely gratifying. I also reflected that the occasion was something else that I never dreamed might happen while I was labouring over the book...
I was also glad to be invited to take part in a very convivial dinner meeting with members of the AIEP/IACW international group of crime writers, and discuss future plans for the organisation. More about this in due course; meanwhile, thanks to Nina George for the photos. Then it was back to sight-seeing, and a "Golden Circle" tour, taking in a volcanic crater, shifting tectonic plates, the original geyser, a horse show, a tomato-focused meal in a greenhouse, and a close-up of a spectacular waterfall. It was a fantastic trip. That just left half a day to go to the top of the Lutheran church tower and survey Reykjavik, and then look round a fascinating exhibition of the island's archaeology. A great place, Iceland, and I'm so glad that I went there.