It’s surprisingly hard to come up with a good book title, one that’s not only attention grabbing, but shouts, ‘Hey [waggly hands], this is what I am!’, and sometimes going old school is the key. The Creak on the Stairs does just that and it doesn’t disappoint. The nod-to- the-crime classics’ title is just perfect for Eva Björg Ægisdóttir’s stylish, suspenseful novel.

Ægisdóttir’s protagonist, Elma, returns to Akranes, a harbour town in western Iceland, seeking a new start after a bad breakup. After working in Reykjavik as a police chief investigating officer, she expects her new job at the local station, in a town where everyone pretty much knows everyone, to be quite low key. Then the body of a woman is discovered at the local lighthouse and the subsequent murder investigation stirs up secrets long thought buried and Elma begins to realise that there’s evil lurking in this small town.

There’s much to like about The Creak on the Stairs. Ægisdóttir’s writing is skilful, as is Victoria Cribb’s translation, in creating a claustrophic tension that pervades throughout. There’s also an authentic evocation of place and time, allowing us to visualise and thus immerse ourselves in Elma and victim Elisabet’s worlds, past and present. It’s a smart, well-plotted book, exploring dark themes; certainly atmospheric enough to make us shiver at various points. No mean feat.

The first in a series, The Creak on the Stairs is a great introduction to Ægisdóttir’s writing, making us very much look forward to what comes next.



The Creak on the Stairs | Eva Björg Ægisdóttir | Orenda | pb | £8.99 |

October 2020

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the book tour organised by Random Things Tours. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation. Thanks to the publisher for supplying a digital proof. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: ‘Helen Fitzgerald’s Ash Mountain’‘Jane Harper’s debut The Dry, murder and mayhem in small-town Australia’;CWA’s Vintage Crime’; ‘Amanda Craig’s homage to Highsmith‘; ‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

Also of interest: Night Mail (1936), changing the face of British film; A Colour Box by Len Lye (1935); Hitchcock (2012); The Splendour of George Stevens’ Giant (1956). Hitchcock (2012).

This review is copyright © 2020 by The Literary Shed. All rights are reserved. All opinions expressed are our own. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please contact us for permission and provide the necessary credit. Thank you so much. We welcome your feedback.



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