Seeing that this is my first post here on Murderous Musings I assume an introduction is in order. My name is Yrsa Sigurdardóttir and I come from Iceland, the country where my crime series about attorney Thora Gudmundsdóttir is also based. The first and second of these, Last Rituals and My Soul to Take are already available is the US while the third, Ashes to Dust, will only be published in 2012 but is available in English in the UK.
To begin with I would like to explain our naming system which at first glance might seem rather clunky, in particular the last names. Many of you might have read Iceland's best know crime author, Arnaldur Indridason, and if so you might have noticed a theme regarding the names depending on if the person is a man or a woman. The way it works here is that if you are a woman your last name will end in "dóttir" and if you are a man it will end in "son". The two words mean: daughter (dóttir) and son (son) and to make it even easier the first part of the last name is your father's first name, i.e. Sigurdardóttir means that I am the daugther of Sigurdur. Before I let you off the hook regarding this I am going to take an example. My husband name is Olafur Thorhallsson (the son of Thorhallur) - we have two children, a son and a daughter. Our daughter's last name is Olafsdottir (the daughter of Olafur) and our son's last name is Olafsson (the son of Olafur). It might seem strange considering that in our family of four none of us have the same last name, but I can assure you this is an excellent system.
You see here there are no "fancy" last names, no Kennedys or Astors or anything remotely similar as the last name chages with every generation. The individual must make his own name for himself, her or she cannot rely on association with those who have gone before them in their lineage. In addition we also go by first name here, even the president is addressed by his first name, Olafur - not to be confused with my husband who is also Olafur. On that note I should also add that neither is my last name to be confused with that of Iceland's prime minister Jóhanna Sigurdardottir as we are not related, our fathers just both happened to be named Sigurdur. The phone book is even by first name and one volume suffices for the whole country.
Iceland is situated in the North Atlantic, the Arctic Circle passing through the northernmost part but the Gulf Stream conveniently keeping us from freezing completely. We are a part of Scandinavia and are good at fishing and many other things, aside from banking where we proved to a good slice of Europe that if it sounds to good to be true, it is just that. We also have volcanoes that occasionally wreck havoc, Eyjafjallajökull anyone? But in general we are a peace loving nation of just over 300 thousand people, with no army and loads of beautiful scenery. Not to mention some pretty darn good crime writers.
More to come......
Yrsa - Sunday