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Why Did You Lie?

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,893 ratings  ·  237 reviews
A chilling thriller from the author of THE SILENCE OF THE SEA, winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for best Scandinavian Crime Novel. A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide. An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing. Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike ...more
Hardcover, 394 pages
Published August 11th 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published November 24th 2013)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  1,893 ratings  ·  237 reviews

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Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is a civil engineer as well as an author. So, she knows better than most that you cannot create energy from nothing. Yet give her a blank page and ask her to think of a story set in her beloved Iceland and from the words she writes when I read her prose, some strange current passes through my body; I get the shakes, I need a light left on and company as I am scared. The same phenomenon then rids my body of any residual heat and I start shivering in fear. And I love it!
Why Did
Liz Barnsley
This is my first book from this author – MY BOOK HALO IS SLIPPING – how could I have missed them? But it certainly won’t be my last, Why Did You Lie was superb. Working on every level, plotting, characters and insane amounts of creepy haunting prose that led to me peering out from under my duvet like a kid checking for monsters under the bed. Monsters of the human kind…

Why Did You Lie follows several strands – a family returning from a holiday, a small group of people in a confined space awaitin
Why Did You Lie? contains three plot strands. In the first, four people – strangers to each other – are dropped off at a lighthouse atop the inhospitable rocky outcrop of Thrídrangar, three of them to perform maintenance, the fourth to take photographs of this harsh environment. It's supposed to take one night, but they soon discover their stay is likely to be prolonged. In the second, a policewoman, Nína, is struggling to cope in the aftermath of her husband's attempted suicide. Having been ost ...more
Tanja Berg
Prior to starting this book I tried two others at 50 pages each, neither made it on to goodreads. I was complaining "I have NOTHING to read" at my shelves with at least 100 unread books while my husband rolled his eyes at me. So without much hoped I grabbed the last book I had bought - this one - and started reading. After about 15 pages I realized that this was one I would finish.

Three stories are intertwined and how they are connected is highly opaque until the very end. One is that of Nina,
H.A. Leuschel
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, this book was a great read - very suspenseful, atmospheric, a tight and varied plot and a range of interesting and also creepy characters thrown in the mix. Absolutely brilliant. I also thought the author made a bold move right at the end but, of course, I won't mention it here ... it's for you to find out. I highly recommend this one for all avid thriller readers!
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: calibre
A few years ago I read a couple of the Thóra Guðmundsdóttir mysteries but I wasn’t particularly impressed so I never continued with the series ( After a recent visit to Iceland, I decided to give Sigurðardóttir another try and chose this standalone novel. I’m afraid my impressions of the author have not improved.

There are three stories which are eventually tied together. Four people are taken by helicopter to the remote Thrídrangar lighthouse perched on
Trigger warnings: suicide, murder, death of a cat.

This book is really three mysteries in one. One is the story of a policewoman whose husband is braindead following an attempted suicide. She's trying to decide whether to shut off his life support while also finding herself caught up in a 25 year old mystery. One is about a photographer who's found himself stranded at a lighthouse awaiting rescue by the coast guard when his fellow strandees start to be murdered. And one is of a couple who've just
This was an eerie read. Review to follow.
Yrsa S has done it again – I just can’t get enough of her books! Why Did You Lie delivered exactly the right balance of mystery, suspense and spooky vibes, with an irresistible cast of engaging characters. I think what makes these people so relatable are the small details Sigurdardottir includes in the narrative –habits, gestures or actions of daily living that make them really leap from the pages, without slowing down the story. A very fine art indeed, and one that not many writers can pull off ...more
Connor Beaton
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
After captivating me with its three compelling narratives, each starting slightly out of sync with each other, Why Did You Lie? ultimately disappointed me with an unnecessary twist ending which is ultimately implausible, riddled with holes and deeply dissatisfying.

I read the book over the course of a few days at the end of 2017 after receiving it as a Christmas Eve present from my partner, inspired by social media posts about the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóðið. I went in without any exper
Bruce Hatton
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: icelandic-crime
A brilliantly constructed novel of three concurrent storylines. Police officer Nina is surreptitiously investigating the connection between her journalist husband's attempted suicide and the supposed suicide of another journalist in the same building 30 years earlier. Meanwhile, a family just returned home from a house-swap with an American couple find their home in disarray and their guests vanished. At the same time, four strangers find themselves stranded on a seastack in the middle of a stor ...more
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very, very brilliant in so many ways. At first I was enjoying all three sub plots but wasn't really sure how they all linked together. It took a long time for two of the three to link together, and longer still for all three to make sense, but when they all came together it was an amazing and rewarding experience. The ending was certainly out of left field too!
Ken Fredette
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the why Yrsa writes. Half the book you don't know what's going to happen, then she changes the way she writes that not the obvious choice and you are lambasted with changes you never saw coming. Nina will have to keep an open eye, I"ll say no more. The book's a great read.
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
4.5 stars A gripping crime novel about truth, lies and the silent space in between.

“[Fog] disorients you and makes the world seem different. Perhaps it’s because fog doesn’t follow any rules. The truth gets lost.”

Ruminations about truth and lies permeate this story. Like the fog that settles over the lighthouse, sometimes revealing, sometimes obscuring, characters in this story alternately reveal and obscure information from one another and from readers. I was enthralled from the very first page
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So I think I have found one of my favourite books of the year. A complete surprise, as it’s not an author I’ve read before and I didn’t know what to expect, but I think it’s fair to say I have been completely blown away.

It starts with the characters, all of whom are so well drawn I felt I knew them by the end of the book. Each of them felt different and real. They had complex personalities, habits and quirks (good and bad), something I think it’s hard to do when there are multiple narrations goi
Yrsa Sigurdardottir has been a fave of mine since I read the first book in her Thora Gudmundsdottir series. This standalone novel showcases what Ms. Sigurdardottir does best … chills up your spine and not just because of the cold Nordic setting.

WHY DID YOU LIE by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Nina’s life has slipped off the track a little bit. She is a pariah among her fellow police officers for filing a sexual harassment suit. Now she is working on dead files in the basement of the building where she has
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
When I first started reading, I began to get a bit frustrated with how slow the pace was - the three storylines seemed to meander about and despite vague veiled threats, nothing actually seems to happen. But slowly and surely, I found myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it and then there was the night I got a bit nervous about going downstairs in the dark. I read a lot of horror novels and it takes a lot to scare me, but this had well and truly gotten under my skin. This is the ...more
Gisela Hafezparast
Apr 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Hm, everyone seems to really love this one, but whilst I usually enjoy reading Sigurdardottir's books this one was too drawn out for me. Usually her characters are so well drawn, but apart from Nina, I didn't feel I really understood any of the characters, which I guess was part of the plot. Just not my thing.
Katherine Kreuter
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I hadn't heard of this writer of Nordic Noir but it was recommended, so I gave it a go. Very good plot, plenty of twists and unexpected events. It starts with multiple plotlines and characters which can be confusing but you get the hang of it. I've already downloaded another. Also useful for picking up Icelandic vocabulary and pronunciation - now how I'll use that I don't know.
Liza Perrat
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A well-written, compelling story. One of the best thrillers I've read in a long time. About to check out this author's other books.
Hilary G
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the first book I have read by this Icelandic author and I have very mixed feelings, which I will try to express without spoilers, though that might prove difficult.

Before starting my review, I must congratulate the translator as I never had the sense that I was reading something originally written in a foreign language (Icelandic). If anything has been 'lost in translation,' I was not aware of it (as I so often am with translated books).

The plot has three separate strands. As disparate a
Robin Reynolds
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
A new to me author, and I think this is the first time I've read an Icelandic author or a book set in Iceland. The short chapters alternate between three separate storylines. We have a photojournalist who tagged along on a helicopter trip to a remote lighthouse where his three traveling companions will be making repairs. Then we have a police officer whose husband is in a coma after a failed suicide attempt. And then a family who've just returned home after a house swap vacation with a Florida c ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5 Stars

I like nordic thrillers and authors, so is this story. This is the first book I read by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and for sure not the last.
The story is well written, full of suspense, the characters are complex, interesting and credible. At the beginning, the way that the author chooses to tell the course of the events can be a bit disturbing, but it's OK when you get it.
I like Nina, I find she is a very human and courageous woman, I feel sad for her about what happened in her life.
The only
Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)
This is a standalone gem by the Icelandic "Queen of Crime Fiction", Yrsa Sigurdardottir, author of the critical acclaimed as well as commercially successful Thora Gudmunsdottir series. Yrsa is at the forefront of a generation of outstanding Icelandic crime writers, along with Arnaldur Indridason, Ragnar Jonasson, Lilja Sigurdardottir and so many others who are inspired by the wild Icelandic landscape which is a character in itself. For those who are not familiar with Sigurdardottir's body of wor ...more
Andrea Ásgeirsdóttir
I liked it. I had found out some of the connections in the book but not all of them. The end was a surprise. I like how Yrsa manages to create haunted atmosphere. The place were the lighthouse was... I would have been so scared there.
Abby Slater- Fairbrother
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The cover of this novel comes with the stamp ‘winner of the Petrona award 2015’. I have also heard huge praise for the author and thoroughly enjoyed one of her previous novels The Legacy. So I knew I was in for a cracking good read, how much of a cracking good read, I could not have predicted!

The novel is almost split into 3 separate parts. The group stranded at the lighthouse. The family returned from a house swap style vacation. Tough but troubled cop Nina. Whilst I loved all these individual
Morgan Dhu
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s novel “Why Did You Lie?” opens with a dramatic scene - a helicopter attempting an open sea rescue of a person reported lost at sea near an isolated lighthouse on a rugged rock formation offshore. What the occupants of the helicopter see is two bodies at the base if the rock tower, and at the top, beside the lighthouse, two people, one on the ground, the other kneeling over him with a knife. The date is January 28, 2014.

The timeline then splits, going backwards, to tell us a
Linda Boa
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-blog
I'd been desperately trying to squeeze this into 2016 - but no cigar. Technically I'd rate it a 4.5 but, as ever, I've rounded it up to a 5. The book consists of three seemingly unrelated storylines, and it's only at the very end of the book we learn of their connection. Nina is a policewoman, who can't believe her husband would've tried to commit suicide as she sits, night by night, at his hospital bed waiting to decide when to switch off his life support machine. Lala and Noi have just returne ...more
Louis Skye
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved Yrsa's Silence of the Sea and was looking forward to reading more of her work. Was thrilled to get my hands on her latest book.

The plot is split into three narratives:
Helgi, a photographer, who is trapped in a lighthouse with 3 people he doesn't know or trust
Nina, who is trying to get to the bottom of why her journalist husband tried committing suicide
Noi, who has returned from holiday with his wife and son but finds that something is not quite right in their home

The prologue really set
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This was fascinating the way the author wove three different threads together, unexplained suicides, violence at a lighthouse, and missing guests and problems after a house swap. What draws them all together are letters telling them they have lied and an unexplained suicide thirty years previously. There is a definite air of menace in the book. everything happens within a short time period and the narrative goes back and forth between the stories. However, I found it hard to keep track of exactl ...more
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Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic writer, of both crime-novels and children's fiction. She has been writing since 1998.
Her début crime-novel "Last Rituals" published in the US in 2007, and the UK in January 2008 was translated into English by Bernard Scudder, and is book 1 of the Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir graduated from high-school in 1983, finished a B.Sc. in civil engin

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