Book Review: Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates

Cold Comfort is the second in the series of Sergeant Gunnhildur mysteries, following on Cold Comfortfrom Frozen Out.

Gunna is now working in Reykjavík, having been promoted from her small-town job. The crimes this time are more city-seedy, with a whole cast of unsavoury characters and the murder of a Z-list celebrity. Without giving too much away, the plot is quite intricate and if you like a good crime novel this will appeal. I can see why as an author it would be easier to come up a crime series set in a city rather than a village, but as a reader I like to read about the eccentricities of small-town life, and would like to see her return.

As in the previous book, we see glimpses of Gunna’s personal life and the pressures of juggling family life and a new boyfriend with a job in the police force. She also has a friend with man troubles. I sometimes find these flashes of personal life more interesting than the “mystery” element in stories and this one has a good combination of both.

Iceland’s kreppa still has a part to play, with a general feeling of “life was better just a few years ago” and some having lost almost all their assets. At times there are real feelings of despair and the grimness of some people’s lives comes through.

Bates writes in a very British style sometimes which I can appreciate is hard to avoid. The positive side of this is that there is some good British-style humour in the book which works for me but may not for readers outside the UK. I have seen other reviewers comment on the many long Icelandic names used and agree that this could be intimidating if Iceland is new to you.

All in all another good and recommended book with Iceland at its core. The next one is being published soon!

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates

  1. Just finished reading both “Frozen Assets” (American title) and “Cold Comfort”. Love the main character Gunna…she is a no nonsense, grind through the details kind of investigator. While some of the Icelandic colloquialisms were lost on me, I love how they color the novels with seeming authenticity. And different from American novels, the stories don’t tie up all nicely at the end. Gunna figures out the truth, but justice doesn’t always seemed to be served.

    • I’m glad you liked them. For me they are a nice mix between British and Icelandic writing. I agree with you, sometimes there is nothing worse than a story where everything comes together at the end just for the sake of it!

      • Well, I just booked my first trip to Iceland! Next February for an attempt to see the Northern Lights. Found a great deal through Travel Zoo and couldn’t pass it up. Two friends and I will fly in the Rekyavik(sp?) then travel domestic air to a smaller town in the north. 4 nights total in-country (not nearly enough, but for $999 airfare and hotels included I wasn’t going to pass it up!).

        Thanks for your inspiring website for the inspiration to help me pull the trigger to go somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit!

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