The Valhalla Murders is a thrilling journey into the haunted past of Iceland’s first serial killings.
I’ve always been a fan of whodunnits and detective mysteries. In my childhood, I was introduced to the genre through Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton’s Mystery series. As I grew older, I started reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. I continue that tradition by reading 4-5 mystery books every year, typically authored by David Baldacci or Joy Ellis.
Since my exposure to live-action crime drama and mystery thrillers is somewhat lacking, I decided to take up my friend’s recommendation of The Valhalla Murders, an eight-episode police procedural television series based in Iceland. My experience with Nordic mystery is limited to Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, which was amazing (but also left me mentally scarred). I enjoyed the movie adaptation as well, though I’d only watched David Fincher’s English remake.
Loosely based on real-life incidents that had happened in Iceland’s past, there is a serial killer on the prowl in modern-day Reykjavik, who slashes his victim’s eyes after killing them. It is up to lead police investigator Kata and her partner, Arnar, a profiler sent from Oslo to assist in the case, to find the connection between the victims. Is it the eponymous Valhalla, an abandoned boys’ home that operated in the ‘80s or is it something else? The lead pair comfortably inhabit their disturbed personas, with Kata forced to deal with her teenage son, who might have been involved in an appalling crime, and Arnar, who carries scars from his abusive childhood. While the lead pair’s personal lives aren’t strictly integral to the main storyline, it helps further their characters and makes them more relatable.
Despite the series being a slow-burn, it is quite intense, complemented nicely by the haunting background score. It has some well-placed twists and turns to keep your binge-watch going. The writing is intelligent and brings the season to a satisfying conclusion, neatly tying up all loose ends. The Valhalla Murders is definitely worth a binge-watch for fans of police procedurals and whodunnit mysteries.
P.S. One big reason why I
mightwill return for more Scandinavian thrillers is the stunning natural beauty on offer. The stark white of acres of pristine snow with a lone car winding through a single road paints a simply breathtaking picture.