Kin is the first book in Snorri Kristjánsson’s Helga Finnsdóttir Mysteries, which takes Nordic Noir to some unexpected places – namely Viking Age Scandinavia.
The eponymous Helga is the adopted daughter of Unnthor Reginsson; a fearsome Viking warlord who has hung up his war-axe and turned from raiding to farming. When Unnthor’s trueborn children gather for a feast at the old homestead, old wounds are torn open anew and bad blood will out. The stage is set for a unique murder-at-the-mansion mystery – or murder-in-the-longhouse in this case – and Helga must use her unassuming stature in the household to her advantage if she is to save an innocent man from the axe.
While providing ample mystery and suspense to urge the reader on, Kin is also a fascinating insight into everyday life among the Vikings. Helga and her adoptive mother, the fearsome Hildigunnur, who acts as matriarch and advisor to the valley’s womenfolk, are strong characters that trade in guile and intuition to navigate and harness power within the patriarchal society of the Vikings, where might generally equates to right.