Crime fiction set in an imaginary archipelago

Fatal Isles is Maria Adolfsson´s debut novel and the first in a crime fiction series, set on the fictional island nation Doggerland in the middle of the North Sea.

It’s the morning after Oistra, the big oyster festival on Heimö, the main island of Doggerland. Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby wakes up in a hotel room next to her boss, Jounas Smeed, and relizes she’s made a big mistake. But things are about to get worse: later that day, Jounas’s ex-wife is found brutally murdered. As Jounas becomes a suspect, Karen is put in charge of the case – and at the same time she is the only one who can give him an alibi. Something she is not keen to share. Karen starts following leads in the case and soon gets a feeling that the motive might be found in Doggerland’s history. And the deeper she digs, the clearer it becomes that even small islands can hide deadly secrets . . .


In prehistoric times there was an area of land, later submerged beneath the North Sea, that stretched from the east coast of Great Britain to the Netherlands and Denmark. It was named after the Dogger Bank, which in turn was named after the 17th-century Dutch fishing boats called doggers. Now Maria Adolfsson has revived this sunken Atlantis and created her own fictional nation consisting of the three islands Heimö, Noorö and Frisel. She has put a lot of work into creating a credible society and culture and her detailed descriptions really make it seem like a real place.

Lead character

This is the first book in a series, introducing Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby in the lead role. After many years in London, she  has returned to Heimö to become one of the few female police officers in Doggerland. She is smart and works hard, but experiences a lot of sexism and women discrimination as a woman in the police force. Her private life is far from perfect and she seems to have a troubled past, details of which are slowly revealed as the story progresses.

Fatal Isles is a gripping and atmospheric police procedural with a fascinating plot and unique setting. I guess I am not the only one wishing Doggerland to exist, so I could go there.

Listen to the opening of the book:

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