DANISH-BASED author Christoffer Petersen’s Christmas offering to fans of Arctic noir is a pair of seasonally themed novellas designed to be enjoyed progressively across the Advent–New Year period.
The action in the first of the two releases, The Calendar Man, begins on December 1 and continues in bite-sized chapters that can be read in less than 15 minutes per day throughout the lead-up to Christmas, culminating on Christmas Eve, when Scandinavians (including Greenlanders) celebrate by sharing meals and opening gifts together. It is the literary equivalent of the 24-part Julekalendere programs broadcast on television every year and the internationally popular windowed wall calendars.
The second picks up the storyline on January 5 and runs for 48 hours to end early on the morning immediately after Twelfth Night, or Mitaartut.
Both feature a cast of central characters introduced in Petersen’s previous series, set in the same location a quarter of a century earlier: police colleagues Petra ‘Piitalaat’ Jensen, Gaba Alatak, Aqqa Danielsen and Atii Napa and politician’s daughter Pipaluk Uutaaq from Greenland Crime, and Iiluuna Mattikalaat, a troubled child from Arctic Short Stories.
Even in 2042 serious crime is rare in Greenland – so rare that when an Advent calendar is found on a mutilated body in the capital, Nuuk, Commissioner Jensen is recalled to duty despite being on extended leave at the time.
First Minister Uutaaq is taking no chances with law and order in her rapidly developing city. A vote on independence from King Frederik’s Denmark is looming and nothing – not even a cryptic and very public corpse – can be allowed to derail the democratic process.
Juxtaposing the elements of a contemporary crime thriller with the warmth of traditional festivities in a remote, otherworldly setting, Petersen serves up a glimpse into a culture as exotic and mysterious to outsiders as it is rich and welcoming.