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Michael Ridpath

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Updated: 16/06/2021
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Michael Ridpath   Several years ago, when I decided to write a crime series, I asked myself two key questions: where would I set it, and who would solve the crimes. My setting was Iceland, but what about my detective?

Naming a detective normally takes much thought, but in this case it was easy – Magnus. The late Magnus Magnusson is every Briton's favourite Icelander, and his name is far too good to waste.

But then a problem arose: I needed a detective who spoke Icelandic but was also a bit of an outsider. I am an outsider myself, and I wanted to describe how extraordinary Iceland and its people are. This would be difficult if Magnus was a native – what's remarkable to me would seem normal to him.

So Magnus was born in Iceland but followed his father to Boston at the age of twelve. After his father was murdered, Magnus decided to become a cop. Twelve years later, when the Reykjavík police are looking for an American adviser to help them fight big-city crime, Magnus is the natural choice.

Magnus still doesn't know who killed his father. I do, but I'm not telling anyone. Not for a few books anyway.