This is a bit late, because ‘The Iron Chariot’ by Stein Riverton and translated by my clever and talented big sister, Lucy Moffatt, has been out for several weeks now. I’m pleased to say that it’s doing well in the Kindle Scandinavian Crime Charts, so this plug can’t hurt.
‘The Iron Chariot’ was written a hundred years ago and is considered by most to be the original Norwegian crime novel. In a remote Norwegian community, the locals believe the sound of the mysterious iron chariot presages death. The book opens with the discovery of a body just after it has been heard in the village. The mystery deepens when, after the chariot is heard a second time, another body is found, but this time it is the corpse of a man who died years earlier. As the unnamed narrator begins to be drawn into the investigation, he becomes more and more unsettled by the eerie goings on.
This is a spooky and blackly funny book with a great detective, Asbjorn Krag, whose apparent eccentricities hide a razor sharp mind. Lucy’s translation is beautiful, both capturing the spirit of the time and setting, and building the brooding atmosphere that makes the novel so interesting. Translation is a very fine art that can make or break a novel, and Lucy’s does Riverton proud.
‘The Iron Chariot’ is published as an ebook by Abandoned Bookshop, the new publisher that specialises in bringing long forgotten masterpieces back into our lives. It was co-founded by the wonderful Scott Pack, who is also my editor at Unbound, so that’s another good reason to plug it. Please do go and check it out, and take a look at other Abandoned Bookshop titles too. You won’t regret it.