Published: Lightning Books (November 2019)

ISBN: 9781785631610

The Iron Chariot

Stein Riverton


‘The founder of the modern Norwegian crime novel’ – Jo Nesbo

Translated by Lucy Moffatt

On a blazing hot summer’s day, holidaymakers at a guesthouse on a Norwegian island are shocked to discover that a fellow guest has been found murdered on a desolate plain. The nameless narrator, an author, was the last person to see the victim alive; shortly afterwards, he is disturbed by a noise like ‘a rattling of chains’. A local tells him this is ‘the iron chariot’, which is said to presage death.

Detective Asbjørn Krag is summoned from the capital, Kristiania, and sets about investigating the murder. When a similar death occurs on the plain, it is again preceded by the eerie sound of the iron chariot, which leaves no tracks. Mystery is added to mystery when the victim turns out to be a man believed to have died several years earlier.

Drawn unwillingly into the investigation, the narrator is puzzled by the enigmatic detective’s apparent inaction, and troubled by unfolding events. These begin to take a toll on his mental wellbeing and he sinks into a state of dread, exacerbated by mysterious happenings at the cabin where he is staying.

So profound is his unease that he feels he must leave the island. Then Krag promises to tell him the solution to the mystery…






‘This is a classic Norwegian crime story. It was written over 100 years ago. Riverton is regarded as the founder of the modern Norwegian crime novel and he is a great writer’

Jo Nesbo




Stein Riverton

Stein Riverton was born Kristoffer Elvestad Svensen in a small Norwegian town near the Swedish border in 1884. After being caught embezzling money as a young office boy, he changed his name to Sven Elvestad and moved to Kristiania (Oslo) to start a new life as a journalist. He became notable for his stunts as a reporter, including spending a day in a circus lion’s cage. He was also the first foreign reporter to interview Adolf Hitler.

Under the pen name Stein Riverton, he wrote a series of crime novels featuring the retired police detective Asbjørn Krag. Published in 1909, Jernvognen (The Iron Carriage) is regarded as his masterpiece. He died in 1934.

The Riverton Prize, awarded annually to the best Norwegian crime story, is named after him.

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