The Polar Bear Killing - Michael Ridpath

This short story set in Iceland features some characters from the author's series of novels.



Iceland has long had a policy of shooting polar bears. They're not indigenous but occasionally drift over from Greenland. So when Constable Halldor gets the call one has been spotted near a rural farm, he heads out to do his duty.

Confronting one of these animals up close is scary enough. When a little girl gets between him & the bear, he knows he'll have one chance before it all goes horribly wrong. Luckily, Halldor is a bit of a sharpshooter.

But when his body is found 4 days later, it's clear his luck ran shot through the eye, just like the bear.

Reykjavik CID send up Det. Vigdis Audardottir, Iceland's only black cop, to help with the investigation. Local police are already sure they have their killer(s) in the form of 2 animal rights activists but Vigdis has her doubts.


What follows is a remarkably complete & satisfying story, especially considering it's just 68 pages. Along with a resolution of the case, we also get the skinny on Vigdis' history & personal life plus a healthy dose of Icelandic geography, culture & tradition. There's even a couple of red herrings tucked in to keep you guessing 'til the end.

So good on you, Mr. Ridpath. Entertaining, well written story for a princely $1.