At the top of the list of best-selling crime novels in France this week are books by Icelandic authors. In the first place is Mist (original title: Mistur2017) by Ragnar Jónasson, and in second place is Arnaldur Indriðason’s wall of silence (original title: Þagnarmur2020). Morgunblaðið reports that it is the second week Mist at the top of the list, and last week, The wall of silence ranked seventh.
Pétur Már Ólafsson, editor at Bjartur & Veröld, believes that this is the first time that two Icelandic authors have topped the list of best-sellers abroad.
Three additional Ragnar books appear this week in the top 100 best-selling crime novels in France: The girl who died (Þorpið2018), ranking 12th, winterkill (Vetrarmein2020), number 72, and darkness (Dimma2015), at 87th place.
“Given the large number of crime novels published around the world and in France, it’s incredible to have two Icelandic authors ranked number one and number two,” says Pétur.
“Arnaldur has been a very big name in France, and now Ragnar has arrived there too. It shows how far Iceland’s crime novelists have come.
Arnaldur’s work has been popular in this market for about two decades, followed by the work of Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and now Ragnar. Recently, author Eva Björg Ægisdóttir joined them. “I believe his book ranked sixth on the list of best-selling crime novels last year. We have a group of excellent authors,” says Pétur.
He says the main reason authors are successful is simply the quality of their work. “Reputation is extremely important. These books and the authors have been well received. He adds that once readers discover a mystery novel from a specific language area, they begin to wonder what else is from it. One author therefore opens the door to another.