Hannah Kent’s meticulously researched historical novel tells of the final months of the last woman executed in IcelandThe last case of capital punishment in Iceland was on 12 January 1830 with the double execution of supposed partners in crime Agnes Magnúsdóttir and Fridrik Sigurdsson. They were found guilty of murdering two men, Natan Ketilsson and Pétur Jónsson, whose bodies – each with wounds of a deliberate nature – were found in the burnt-out ruins of Ketilsson’s farm. Magnúsdóttir was a workmaid at the farm along with Sigurdsson’s intended, Sigrídur Gudmundsdóttir, the third guilty party. She was the only one of the trio to escape the death penalty, seeing out her days in a Copenhagen textile prison.The murders took place on the night between 13 and 14 March 1828, at Illugastadir, on the Vatnsnes peninsula in northern Iceland. Four months later, Magnúsdóttir, Sigurdsson and Gudmundsdóttir were found guilty in a district court and sentenced to be beheaded, with Gudmundsdóttir’s sentence later commuted.The Húnavatn district, in which they resided, was ill-prepared to hold the prisoners, so as the case progressed – first through the land court in Reykjavík, then the supreme court in Copenhagen for the king of Denmark’s approval – it …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books