Germany meets Finland: Jan Costin Wagner’s Ice Moon

Things have (ahem) been somewhat biased towards Danish and Scandinavian crime fiction in the last few posts. So I’m trying to broaden my horizons by means of a German crime novel by Jan Costin Wagner. But wait…his wife’s Finnish and the book’s set in Finland? So much for weaning myself off Nordic crime.

First line: Kimmo Joentaa was alone with her when she went to sleep.

I hadn’t heard of Costin Wagner before, but really liked Ice Moon (Eismond), his second novel, which features the young Finnish policeman Kimmo Joentaa. The novel opens with the death of Joentaa’s wife after a long illness, and in many ways is a study of grief that happens to be woven into a murder investigation. Each of the victims has been smothered in their sleep, and Joentaa becomes fascinated by these ‘eerily tranquil’ killings, while trying to absorb the loss of his own wife.

The novel’s nicely written, with a characteristic Nordic feel, and the both the investigator and the murderer’s story are explored with sensitivity. The Independent on Sunday described the book as ‘intriguing and touching’, which is spot on. A lovely little read.

Ice Moon is published in translation by Vintage Books (2006), and you can read the first few chapters online here.

7 thoughts on “Germany meets Finland: Jan Costin Wagner’s Ice Moon

  1. The second one in the series, Silence, is out now and the third, The Winter of the Lions is out in June. I find these books very haunting.

    I hope you don’t mind but I have imported your blog into the Crime Fiction Friend Feed Room (a fancy RSS reader) where you can further comment and share links: We’re a friendly bunch :).

  2. I thought this was a very good novel, also – I did not like the successor (Silence, recently published) as much, because the character of the boss changed so much, and for other reasons, though it was a pretty good novel compared with most crime novels. Ice Moon was special because of the way it conveys grief so well, I think, and the parallels between the detective’s feelings about that and the way he solved the case.

    • Yes, I agree – it is special in terms of what it’s trying to do. I’ll try Silence and see what I think – I did like the detective figure very much.

  3. Pingback: #9 Jan Costin Wagner / Silence | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

  4. Pingback: #18 Jan Costin Wagner / The Winter of the Lions | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

  5. Pingback: Deutschi Crime Night and the ‘Crime Fiction in German’ volume | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

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