Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Legacy (Children's House, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Legacy (Children's House, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Legacy

(Children's House #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  8,564 ratings  ·  1,030 reviews
The first in a stunning new series from the author of The Silence of the Sea, winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for best Scandinavian Crime Novel.

The Legacy is the first installment in a fantastic new series featuring the psychologist Freyja and the police officer Huldar.

The only person who might have the answers to a baffling murder case is the victim’s seven-year-old daug
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Minotaur Books (first published November 15th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Legacy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Tony da Napoli I agree. They are seldom even close in translation and in searches you never can find one or the other.
Just stop it and use the original titles...we …more
I agree. They are seldom even close in translation and in searches you never can find one or the other.
Just stop it and use the original titles...we WILL figure it out.(less)
Sandra I do think she's very good, if not the finest female author of all time! Looking forward to the next in the triology of Children's House! …moreI do think she's very good, if not the finest female author of all time! Looking forward to the next in the triology of Children's House! (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,564 ratings  ·  1,030 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Legacy (Children's House, #1)
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Translated from Icelandic, this is the first in the Children's House series set in Reykavik. This is a murky, dark and twisted tale which begins in 1987 where after an unspeakable event, child experts make the controversial decision to separate three children into different adoption homes. This connects to what happens later down the years in 2015 when a mother is gruesomely murdered, discovered under her bed is her seven year old daughter, Margret, the only witness to the crime.

Freyja is direc
This is the first book in the start of a new crime series which I devoured page by page.
I'd left this book at home, thought I had it in my bag when I knew I'd be spending some time in the car and sitting for appointments at the hospital (nothing serious)
I was so fed up as I couldn't wait to jump back into this plot.

A ten year old daughter becomes the only witness to a terrible shocking murder.

Treading carefully the Police need to bring in some expertise. The Children's house.

Then more people di
If you either enjoy Nordic Noir or are looking for a fresh take on crime writing and weary of the same-old, same-old, consider The Legacy, the first in the Childrens House series by Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

First, a primer on Iceland for everyone not a resident of that country.
Iceland has an estimated population of 300,000 and one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Take a glance at the following UN data of 2009 homicides:
 Brazil 43,909
 Denmark 47
 UK 724
 US 15,241
 Iceland 1

That’s right. On
I don't know if the author is just insanely prolific or whether there's a huge backlog of her work to translate into English, but it seems there's a new Yrsa Sigurðardóttir book every nine months or so, and here, like clockwork, is the latest. The Legacy is the first in the Children's House series. It introduces the central characters of Freyja, director of the Children's House refuge for traumatised and abused children, and police detective Huldar.

The Legacy has one of those devilishly clever p
Viv JM
I thoroughly enjoyed this slice of Nordic Noir. It was a gripping thriller with plenty of twists and turns, red herrings and imaginative murder weapons! I found the murder scenes themselves edge-of-seat frightening, but without being unnecessarily gory in their descriptions. The characters, including children and young people, were well written and believable. Yes, there were some amazing coincidences pulling the whole thing together but that is often par for the course to keep any mystery going ...more
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I am a great fan of Scandinavian crime fiction, for some reason I had not yet read anything by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. So, when I discovered she was starting a new series that I could read from the beginning, I thought it was an ideal to chance to read her at last and I am glad I did. We begin with events in 1987 and decisions involving some traumatised children.

The novel then turns to 2015 and the horrific murder of a woman, whose young daughter is the only witness. The crime is investiga
Liz Barnsley
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another banging good crime thriller from Yrsa Siguraordottir here. Love that it will be a new series. I was very fond of all the characters but boy it is not for the faint hearted with reference to the death scenes! *shudder*

Full review later at some point.
Crime by the Book
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full review to come! This is one fantastic series launch from Yrsa Sigurdardottir - I will absolutely be coming back for more of her Children's House books. Layered, vivid, chilling, slow-burning yet tense - this is superb crime writing. ...more
Laura/Mystery in Minutes
Mystery in Minutes Overall Rating: 4.5/5
To read the complete review, please visit
Voted Best Crime Novel of the Year by the Icelandic Crime Authors' Association, The Legacy is the first installment in the Children's House series, written by "Iceland's Queen of Crime", Yrsa Sigurdardottir. The Legacy is an intelligent, slow-burning, character-focused police procedural that methodically reveals layer upon layer of ingenious plotting involving cryptic, coded
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2017
A great start...

When a horrific murder is carried out, there's only one witness, 7-year-old Margrét, but she's too shocked to tell her tale. So it's decided to ask the Children's House to help out – a place that specialises in helping traumatised children. Meantime the police are searching through the murder victim's background to try to find any reason for her murder, but Elísa seems to have been normal in every possible way: happy marriage, a group of long-time friends, good at her job, and ge
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
The Legacy is the first book in the Children's House series and it's the first book I've read by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. I've actually read a couple of more books by Sigurðardóttir since I finished this book and I find her books really good. One thing I loved about this book (and the rest I've read by the author) is that its setting is on Iceland. Another thing I liked is the main characters psychologist Freyja and police officer Huldar who have to work together solving a murder case where a child ...more
May 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-series
This book has everything a mystery lover loves! Translation, btw, is superb.

We've got two major characters with major flaws. (Yes, major used twice in same sentence!) Police detective Huldar, who's far from less than perfect, and child advocate/psychologist Freyja who's living in her brother's junky apartment and taking care of his terrible dog. (Brother's in prison and could use his own series, me thinks.) The two together argue, snarl, stare, growl, and learn to work together, somewhat, to sol
Thank you to Netgalley, Publisher and Yrsa sigurdaedottir for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance reader copy of this book.

You can find my review on both Goodreads and Amazon. On Goodreads from today under Karen Whittard and on Amazon under k.e.whittard from publication date.

This is an extremely dark book. Not to be read by the faint hearted. Which luckily isn't me. It involves a twisted killer, gruesome deaths and the horrific use of munda
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was spot on for me. The characters and story sucked me in and made this book impossible to put down. I’ve already added the second book to my January TBR list but we’ll see if I can hold off until then. For some reason I find myself drawn to stories set in Iceland more than any other Nordic noir country.

At first I didn’t think I was going to like Huldar, the lead investigator, but as the story progressed so did his character and by the end he had really grown on me. I liked Freyja, th
Cleopatra  Pullen
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, own, crime-series
The Legacy opens with a deeply sad meeting of the equivalent to Social Services where three young siblings are separated to be adopted, ‘the only way to give them all a chance says the director, ‘they can’t stay together’.

The story then moves to 2015 when two young boys alert their neighbour because they’ve been unable to wake up their mother. There’s a reason for that, their mother is dead, brutally murdered by someone who has taken killing to a whole different level. Please dear readers, if yo
Abby Slater- Fairbrother
In this day and age, what self respecting reader doesn't love a bit of Scandi, Swedish & Icelandic Noir? I for one am a huge fan! That being said this was my first read by this author. A friend had recommend the author to me and when I saw this available on netgalley. I requested as quick as a flash.

The Novel opens with an intense prologue, it soon centres around a very dark & Violent crime the torture murder of a young mother. The themes within the novel of adoption & childhood psychological d
Tanja Berg
In retrospect it’s hard to believe that I couldn’t pick up a single clue on the culprit. There were plenty of signs along the way, after all, but I lost them in other details.

The low rating bears no connection to my inability to figure out the perpetrator. The level of violence and the particularly gruesome murders were too much for me to stomach. The plotting and motive is okay enough, I just don’t see how it could inspire to such rage.
Renny Barcelos
This did not work for me at tried so hard to be innovative with the killer's method but it ended up just another cliche serial killer novel trying to impress. I found it really convoluted and couldn't really care about anyone in the story... I will not read the next in the series, for sure. ...more
Wow. This is the best mystery/crime book I’ve read in a really long time. I’ll write a review soon.
Elaine Tomasso
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advance copy of The Legacy, the first novel in a new series to feature The Children's House, where they treat abused children.

The novel opens in 1987 with a welfare panel deciding to split up a family of 3 children and send them to different homes for adoption. It then returns to the present day and the brutal murder of Elísa, an inoffensive, well liked wife and mother. Her daughter, Margrét, was hiding under the bed when it happened
Ken Fredette
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like Yrsa's story line which ended up being quite noir. She starts out with a girl being molested by her father and then goes into how the children that resulted were distributed out into the world. Step two, she brings our attention to two brothers (not related) but living together with a mother (not they're biological mother). Step three, she introduces us to the first victim. Step four, she introduces us to a female psychologist and then to a promoted cop. Story goes noir when the ps ...more
Nicholas Kinsey
Mar 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
"The Legacy" is a very unsatisfying read. There's very little action and the author spends an insane amount of time writing totally uninteresting facts that have no bearing on the story and which don't advance the story in any way. I found it exceedingly boring and was jumping from page to page after a while with all the painstaking details trying to figure where the story was going.

If the author is the "Icelandic Queen of Nordic Noir" as proposed the publisher, then please don't bother marketi
Trish S
Sep 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wonder if this book was ever edited. So many useless and boring details. At least half the book is stuffing. Literature is seldom found within this genre, I was not expecting that, but with a good editor it might have been turned into a decent read. I found it torturous to get through. By the end I did not care much who did it.
Gisela Hafezparast
Really brilliant new series from this brilliant author. Great characters, horrible crime and I didn't get how done it until the very end. Excellent red herring, which left me on the wrong path until the end.

Already started the 2nd book and hoping for many more.
Lynda Kelly
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This was my first by this author but won't be my last. I rarely pay for a book by an author unknown to me but it sounded so interesting I took a punt. Pleased I did as I really enjoyed it. The translation was flawless as well !! I find that a lot with translated books. They're always so well presented as I suppose the translator makes a special effort since it's their bread 'n' butter, whereas so many I pick up where English is supposedly the first language are so full of spelling and grammatica ...more
A gruesome thriller chiller by an author who gets better with every book! Yrsa Sigurdardottir has been dubbed the Queen of Nordic noir and rightfully so. Her books are so amazingly twisted with complicated plots that defy the easy guess that comes with typical suspense novels. I read this genre almost exclusively, and she is one author that is a NOT TO BE MISSED.

I must say that the murders in this book took me completely by surprise, not by the motive, but by the method. How original, and I will
Laura Rash  Wonderchick
Idk when I’ve read a book this big so fast! Literally from page one I was drawn in & read this in less than 24 hours. I was immensely impressed with the murder methods of which I’d never read the likes of (though idk what that says about me). A very unique crime novel that will definitely have me reading more from this author.
Thanks to Minotaur for this early copy:)
Laura Andersen
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Ummmmm . . . loved! Without spoilers, I will only say that something I thought was only a character-rounding detail turned out to be hugely significant and I LOVE writers who do things like that. And the first in a new series, which makes me happy :)
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can’t remember what made me buy a copy of The Legacy but if I had known I had this corker on my bookshelf, I would have picked it up a lot sooner.

The prologue alone was enough to pull me right into the story, when a meeting is called to determine the fate of three siblings who are up for adoption. Apart from their gender and ages, we know nothing about these children so while it’s obvious this prologue will somehow connect to the rest of the story, I couldn’t at all figure out how.

Newly promot
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nordic-noir
A new series by the author after she finished? With Thora, who starred as a lawyer which I found to be equal parts good & very average depending on who her co-stars were..... anyway.... to this series
We start in the past 1987 at a children’s home with a short chapter before fast forwarding to modern day (2015) & a happy family scene..... which doesn’t last for long & in fact the second chapter is quite chilling, very descriptive & had me on the edge of my seat.

A great start, no messing around!

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Andro DNA Testo Boost, 1 4 Jan 31, 2020 04:29AM  
Auton wrongly named. 1 12 Jul 23, 2018 03:55AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • RIP (Freyja & Huldar 3 )
  • The Doll (Freyja and Huldar)
  • Blackout (Dark Iceland #3)
  • The Creak on the Stairs (Forbidden Iceland, #1)
  • Rupture (Dark Iceland #4)
  • Lelle
  • The Mist (Hidden Iceland #3)
  • Snowblind (Dark Iceland #1)
  • The Darkness (Hidden Iceland #1)
  • The Island
  • Nightblind (Dark Iceland #2)
  • Segredo do ar
  • Girls Who Lie (Forbidden Iceland, #2)
  • Winterkill (Dark Iceland #6)
  • De jongen in de sneeuw
  • Whiteout (Dark Iceland #5)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Children's House (6 books)
  • Sogið (Children's House, #2)
  • The Absolution (Children's House, #3)
  • Gallows Rock (Children's House, #4)
  • Brúðan (Children's House, #5)
  • Þögn (Children's House, #6)

Related Articles

Fearless readers, gather ’round…   For those with the courage and bandwidth to launch a bold new reading adventure, we’ve put together this...
64 likes · 22 comments