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Cold Climate Mysteries

Crime, Thriller & Mystery

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Jun 16, 2010, 11:47pm Top

Since it is so very hot here in Florida our mystery book club has decided to read about cold climates. Any suggestions for a really "cold" mystery?

Jun 17, 2010, 12:14am Top

Dead Cold by Louise Penny

Jun 17, 2010, 12:17am Top

Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow (aka Smilla's Sense of Snow).

Edited: Jun 17, 2010, 12:35am Top

Winter Study by Nevada Barr

Jun 17, 2010, 1:06am Top

Sue Henry and Dana Stabenow write mysteries set in Alaska.

Jun 17, 2010, 3:32am Top

Snow falling on cedars isn't quite as cold as the title suggests, but fairly chilly.

Jun 17, 2010, 6:10am Top

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves is set in the Shetland Islands in January.

Jun 17, 2010, 7:10am Top

Winterfrost by wingfield might be a good idea

Edited: Jun 17, 2010, 7:55am Top

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith and even more so its follow up Polar Star - the first is set in Moscow and other parts of Russia, the second the Bering Strait and Alaska. It doesn't get much colder than that.

Another one that isn't a mystery per se, but has mysterious circumstances is In the Deep Midwinter by Robert Clark. It's the story of a family coming apart in 1950 Missouri. Very good and very under-read.

Jun 17, 2010, 9:41am Top

snow blind but it's the forth of the series.

Jun 17, 2010, 10:41am Top

The nine tailors by Dorothy L Sayers

Jun 17, 2010, 11:49am Top

last snow -- in Russia
Snow Angels -- in Finland

John Sandford's Prey series Take place in MN and some are in the winter such as winter prey

Sworn to Silence

Raising Atlantis -- Antarctica (very Dan brownish)
The Charlemagne Pursuit -- also Antarctica

Jun 17, 2010, 11:55am Top

Rest You Merry by Charlotte MacLeod, although it has a Christmas theme as well, not just winter.

Jun 17, 2010, 1:22pm Top

Jun 17, 2010, 1:29pm Top

Ken Follet's Whiteout. Lee Child's latest, 61 Hours is set in South Dakota in the winter...really friggin' cold. And C.J.Box's Joe Pickett books are set in Wyoming.

Jun 17, 2010, 1:46pm Top

I echo the recommendations for Smilla's Sense of Snow and the Martin Cruz Smith books (Red Square, too - I didn't like Stalin's Ghost as much).

I lesser known book that I thought was great is Blackwater by Kerstin Eckman. I couldn't bring it up here, but Amazon has it. I think it would lead to good group discussions as well.

Jun 17, 2010, 2:24pm Top

Both of the following are 1st mysteries in a series and very good, as well as providing winter atmospheres that are part of the story:

Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride
Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt

Jun 17, 2010, 3:50pm Top

Wow! Lots of great suggestions. Thanks.

Jun 17, 2010, 6:59pm Top

John Straley has a mystery series set in Sitka, Alaska. Private detective Cecil Younger.

Jun 17, 2010, 9:56pm Top

Also set in Sitka, Alaska is The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which is sure to get a bookgroup talking!

Jun 18, 2010, 4:43am Top

An oldie by Nicholas Blake, The Corpse in the Snowman - a fascinating whodunit.

Jun 18, 2010, 8:06am Top

I'm amazed no one has mentioned The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson.

Jun 18, 2010, 8:56am Top

Iceland! Arnaldur Indridason has a whole series set in Iceland - with cold names like Hypothermia, Arctic Chill, plus others like The Draining Lake, Silence of the Grave, Tainted Blood.

Jun 19, 2010, 7:03am Top

#17 - you chose exactly the same books as I was going to recommend!

Jun 19, 2010, 11:43am Top

Stan Jones sets his mysteries in Alaska so you can't get too much colder than that.

Jun 19, 2010, 12:48pm Top

24. Hi Sophie - weird, huh? I have just started both those authors and really enjoy their settings, especially in summer.

Jun 19, 2010, 5:50pm Top

Another great mystery is In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming. I highly recommend all of her books.

And then there is Last Rituals and My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurordottir. Both set in Iceland.

Jun 21, 2010, 9:06am Top

Try the Cork O'Connor series by William Kent Krueger set in northern Minnesota. Not all take place in the winter months, but those that do are very cold and piled high with snow. Iron Lake, Krueger's first O'Connor book, might fit what you are seeking.

Jun 23, 2010, 8:59am Top

I recently read/reviewed the ARC copy of Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen. The book is a thriller, with lots of suspense. And, as the title states, it's set in a cold climate. I'm in Florida as well and I have to say that sometimes I'd get so deep into the book that I would find myself chilled on a 90 degree day!

Jun 23, 2010, 9:35am Top

I really like William Kent Krueger books. They are set in Minnesota and I love the story lines. I think you should start with his first book. It was a great read.

Edited: Jun 23, 2010, 10:46am Top

More of a Thriller than a Mystery, but mysterious things do happen:

Ice Hunt - James Rollins

UGH - Stupid Touchstones not working again!


Edited: Jun 23, 2010, 1:50pm Top

>31 ThrillerFan:
(trying for your touchstones)

Ice Hunt - James Rollins

Jun 24, 2010, 8:55am Top

Several of Donald Harstad's books set in Iowa are during deep cold winter like The Big Thaw and A Long December

Jul 2, 2010, 10:10am Top

There is also Body in the Snowdrift by Katherine Hall Page which is at a ski resort, and Winterkill by C. J. Box which is set in the wilderness in Wyoming and Blue Deer Thaw by Jamie Harrison which is set in Montana in the winter.

Jul 2, 2010, 3:06pm Top

Definitely Snow Angels by James Thompson. Takes place in Finland where it is -40 and that is NOT wind chill factor. One of my favorite reads of the year.

Jul 2, 2010, 11:35pm Top

I finished reading Smilla's Sense of Snow which was excellent and now reading Winter Study which has started off very well. I just received in the mail Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen and really want to dive into it!

Edited: Jul 4, 2010, 12:45pm Top

I can strongly recommend Henning Mankell novels,mostly based in Sweden.I also rate Arnaldur Indridason books based in Iceland

Jul 14, 2010, 9:33pm Top

(Black Ice) by (Matt Dickinson) - good thriller, set in Antarctica. It got me interested in Antarctica, so I read (South), the account of Shackleton's expedition. It's non-fiction, but a good can't-put-it-down companion to any South Pole fiction. It's as tense as a lot of thrillers.

Jul 15, 2010, 7:33am Top

You might give a new author a try - The Eye of the Red Tsar. It takes some historical liberties, but is an entertaining read set in Russia set alternately at the time of the Tsar's fall and Stalin's rule. Some really intense descriptions of life in a Siberian work camp.

Jul 15, 2010, 9:32am Top

You may want to check out these authors:
Sue Henry
Dana Stabenow
Christopher Lane
Marcia Simpson
Kathleen Anne Barrett
Donald Harstad
Peter Hoeg
Boris Akunin
Sjowall and Wahloo (husband & wife)
K. O. Dahl
Jessica Simon
Also - here is a link to some mysteries set during the Christmas season -

Jul 15, 2010, 9:24pm Top

Recently read Child 44 and it's set in Russia in 1953 and there is an awful lot of snow...

Jul 20, 2010, 5:17pm Top

Just finished Winter Study and it was very good.

Edited: Jul 21, 2010, 10:16am Top

In Cold Pursuit by Sarah Andrews is set in Antartica

Jul 23, 2010, 1:30am Top

Just finished Snow Angels by James Thompson. Set in Finland just before Christmas, the cold, snow and darkness play an important part in the story.

Jul 27, 2010, 1:25am Top

I've recently read Stan Jones' Nathan Active series- went through them like a hot knife through butter.
White Sky, Black Ice; Shaman Pass; Frozen Sun; Village of the Ghost Bears
I can't help it- when I find an author I like, I just read all their stuff at once.
So now...I'm wondering if anyone has any news about a 4th book in that series?
Is Stan Jones working on one now?

Also, two FAVORITE cold cold freezing cold settings:
Kabloona by Gontran de Poncins
Spirit Wrestler by James Houston

Aug 20, 2010, 10:19pm Top

I love this topic (especially since my air conditioner will not be functional for any of this hot season.

Aug 27, 2010, 10:29pm Top

Oh no! No A/C is not good. Hang in there. Reading Winter Study by Nevada Barr kept me cool for a few days.

Aug 27, 2010, 11:06pm Top

I ordered a dvd about Alaska...maybe that will help cool me down.

Aug 28, 2010, 10:43am Top

I enjoyed these cold mysteries:

Kitty Sewell's Ice Trap
Clive Cussler's Arctic Drift
Betsy Tobin's Ice Land

Sep 6, 2010, 9:56am Top

I really enjoyed Ice lake by John Farrow.

Sep 9, 2010, 11:06pm Top

I am enjoying the audio version of Alaska Justice by M.D. Kincaid.

I would really love to take another trip to Alaska soon, but alas, I must limit myself to the books about and in it for the time being.

Sep 30, 2010, 7:13pm Top

If you can find a copy, Lionel Davidson's Kolymsky Heights is a great read and set almost entirely in northern Siberia - in WINTER - and it's so well written you could swear you put on a parka to keep turning the pages!

Oct 9, 2010, 6:54pm Top

Tho probably long past the time for the book group that originally prompted this question, I'll second the recommendations for William Kent Krueger's Iron Lake and the Em Hansen mystery which was touchstoned wrong, the correct touchstone is In Cold Pursuit by Sarah Andrews. I really like this series.

Nov 22, 2010, 7:55am Top

Also from Iceland, there are three mysteries by Yrsa Sigurgardottir. Her protagonist is a lawyer and, while I haven't gotten to deeply into her third yet, the first two featured some part of Icelandic history. Her books are a nice companion to Indridason's police procedurals (mentioned in #23 & #37 above), if you are interested in Iceland generally (which is a really cool place, no pun intended. It's not everyday one gets to shower with hot water pumped from the earth - no water heaters!).

As far as a cold climate, Iceland is relatively temperate and it's not as cold there as one imagines, or let's just say, it doesn't swing so cold or so hot as it does in, say, the Northeastern US where I live. But I guess a "cold climate" is a relative thing.

Nov 28, 2010, 2:24pm Top

P J Tracy's Monkeewrench books are set mostly in Minnesota, some of them in very cold winter. I seem to recall an ice carving contest in one?

Dec 21, 2010, 11:29pm Top

We are ready cold climate mysteries again so this is a great list. Thanks everyone!!!

Edited: Dec 22, 2010, 5:03am Top

Like someone above me, I recommend the Kurt Wallender Series by Henning Mankell.

I've just read Faceless Killers and Dogs of Riga both by Henning Mankell. He really emphasizes how cold and stormy it is, and as someone living in Canada, the temps in Sweden are not that bad....... it gives me a bit of chuckle.

But the books are great - and you will feel cold!!:)

Edited: Dec 22, 2010, 6:26pm Top

I don't think has anyone mentioned Beneath The Snow by Caroline Carver (pseudonym C. J. Carver) yet. I can't personally endorse it, since I haven't read it yet, but it was highly recommended to me. Even the cover art is frightfully cold.

Synopsis from Fantastic Fiction: It's been a hard winter in the Alaskan town of Lake's Edge—and things are about to get tougher. Lisa McCall, a brilliant young research scientist, has disappeared in a snowstorm. Shaken by the news, Lisa's estranged sister, Abby, flies from England to join the rescue team. Almost immediately, Abby begins to see that Lisa's work has threatened some very powerful people—people who will stop at nothing to protect their interests. Abby knows her sister is out there, battling cold and terror, while her enemies circle. Risking her own life, Abby sets out to find her sister before its too late.

Dec 22, 2010, 6:29pm Top

In Cold Pursuitby Sarah Andrews is set in Antarctica

Feb 23, 2011, 8:44pm Top

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø, a very chilling Norwegian police procedural thriller.

Feb 26, 2011, 3:47pm Top

Deep Creek by Dana Hand is set in Idaho.

Mar 1, 2011, 5:07pm Top

I loved that book! I like books by other Nordic authors too. Check out Karen Fossum's mysteries as well.

Mar 2, 2011, 5:10am Top

I second the Boris Akunin suggested in a previous message. His books are set in Russia, so lots of cold and snow and whatnot in winter. ;)

Mar 2, 2011, 6:36am Top

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver isn't exactly a mystery, more of a traditional ghost story, but it's one of the most atmospheric books I've read in a long time which captures perfectly the feel of the icy, 24 hour nights in Northern Norway. Left me feeling very cold indeed.

May 9, 2011, 1:33pm Top

Lee Child's 14th Jack Reacher novel 61 Hours is a great cold climate mystery. Set in South Dakota in the middle of winter you'll find yourself shivering not only by references to the cold, but by the twists and turns of the plot.

May 20, 2011, 1:14pm Top

I'd go with THE COLD KISS by John Rector.

May 20, 2011, 3:54pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

May 20, 2011, 3:57pm Top

This site: http://www.cozy-mystery.com has cozy and non-cozy mysteries organized into categories. One of the categories is: Mystery Books with a Snowed-In / Snow-Bound Theme. Hope this helps!

May 30, 2011, 9:33pm Top

Louise Penney's mysteries are set in Canada and are excellent! Both the book and audiobook versions are well worth the time.

Jun 9, 2011, 3:16pm Top

>15 BeckyJG: Whiteout by Ken Follett was a very interesting book. Truly cold weather in that book, and Ken Follett is a very good writer and makes the plot grab you and hold your attention. I really liked this book.

Jun 12, 2011, 4:16pm Top

I have noticed that all of the Scandinavian authors have coldness as the themes of their novels. Some have already been mentioned. Arnaldur Indridason was mentioned earlier. There is also Camilla Lackberg, Karin Fossum, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo, Peter Hoeg, Asa Larsson, Hakan Nesser and Liza Marklund. Of course there are the Icelandic Sagas that you could read. These are myths about the migration of Norwegians to Iceland.

Jun 22, 2011, 10:30am Top

Death in a cold climate isn't Robert Barnard's best, but indifferent Barnard is still very good. M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth novels are set in the Scottish Highlands, many in winter. Try Death of a prankster. Alisa Craig's Murder goes mumming is set in Nova Scotia at Christmastime.

Aug 10, 2011, 8:58am Top

Oh, yes #66, I too have to go with The Cold Kiss by John Rector. Seems so many of the stories listed here are mentioned merely because they are set in a cold climate area...nothing wrong with that... but I point it out because in the The Cold Kiss the snow storm plays a major roll. Basically it is what puts the characters in to their predicament. Is a very stylish, gritty, noir story that I would not recommend to "cozy-only" readers. The people involved in this story are despicable. Other gritty cold clime stories that I remember fondly and wherein the weather does indeed play a major roll are: Snowbound by Bill Pronzini, The Ice Harvest by Scot Phillips, The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. I am sure there are others I have read but these came immediately to mind.

Edited: Aug 10, 2011, 10:55am Top

Alistair MacLean's Night Without End

Aug 11, 2011, 8:04pm Top

Wolf Winter by Clare Francis

Aug 21, 2011, 2:51pm Top

Well, now that it's finally reached 90 degrees for the first time this summer here in Portland Oregon I'm wanting the same thing - My suggestion is blood upon the snow (1944)by Hilda Lawrence - nothing but snow in this book and a very good mystery. "The snow was falling thick and fast when the last train of the day clattered into Crestwood at eight o'clock."

Aug 26, 2011, 8:33pm Top

Try the late and much missed Stuart Kaminsky's Porfiry Rostnikov series. Very charming, very cold, set in Moscow and occasionally in Siberia with an always interesting cast of repeating characters.

Aug 31, 2011, 9:20pm Top

The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie is set in a snowbound village.

Sep 3, 2011, 10:47am Top

Ngaio Marsh's Death and the dancing footman is set in snowy circumstances. Also, in Murder on the Orient Express, wasn't the train snowbound for a few days?

Edited: Sep 3, 2011, 2:55pm Top

There seem to be tow live threads with exactly the same title?

I'm cross posting here for the ones that don't already seem to be mentioned above....

'Jonathan Stride' series by Brian Freeman is set in a frequently snow covered Minnesota


The second in the 'Mad Dog and Englishman' series by J.M. Hayes is set in a Kansas snow storm/blizzard

Prairie Gothic

The second book in the 'Walt Flemming' series by Ridley Pearson is set in deep winter in Idaho

Killer View

Siberian Light by Robin White set in... well kind of obvious really!!

and depending oin the season many of C. J. Box's investigative game warden series (set in Wyoming) featuting 'Joe Pickett' are also pretty frosty; try Winterkill

Edited: Sep 3, 2011, 12:35pm Top

Alo suggested (by others) in the secondary thread (and not already appearing here as far as I can spot):

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley (there is also a second book in the series, also cold climate worthy)

The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley

Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight series is set in the Upper Peninsula area of Michigan

Nov 8, 2014, 5:12pm Top

With winter approaching, this would be a good topic to discuss again.

Nov 15, 2014, 2:20pm Top

Stabenow is great!!! Alaska setting, and great female detective, Kate Shugak. I like the way she integrates the Alaska Native culture with the place and the mysteries.

Jun 17, 2015, 10:28am Top

A CK search of Important Places for Maine seems to feature in a LOT of mysteries set in the cold.

Edited: Jun 17, 2015, 10:39am Top

Ice Station Zebra! Set in the Arctic, during the *Cold War*. It's also short, so perfect for a quick read between cucumber sangrias and a dip in the pool.

Dec 13, 2015, 1:56pm Top

Åsa Larsson, well-written crime novels set in northern Sweden.
Monica Kristensen, several crime novels set on Svalbard/Spitsbergen.
For a non-fiction mystery I would also add "The Expedition" by Bea Uusma which investigates the fate of an early expedition towards the north pole.

Edited: Dec 14, 2015, 9:01pm Top

Edit- oops Kristensen has not yet been translated to English - but she sounds like an interesting author. Maybe someday.

Oh, thank you for this - my son is going to be spending next semester in Svalbard- I think we may be getting some books for Christmas..

Dec 14, 2015, 9:04pm Top

Non-fiction, and not crime- but good adventures- Ice Ship: The Epic Voyages of the Polar Adventurer Fram will give you plenty of cold weather atmosphere.

Dec 15, 2015, 1:24am Top

>88 Helenoel: Sorry, I just saw that there were some translations and didn't look close enough to realize that they were all into other nordic languages.

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