Saturday, April 21, 2012

Murder in Reykjavik

At the risk of simply jumping on the bandwagon of post-Stieg-Larsson Scandinavian fiction, I've discovered a new detective series that I quite enjoy.  Arnaldur Indridsadon has written a series of mysteries based in Reykjavik that appeal to me both because they introduce me to a new setting, and because of the interesting characters and engrossing plots.

Hypothermia introduced me to senior detective Erlendur.  In this book, Erlendur refuses to abandon a case that has been declared suicide by everyone else.  At the same time he continues to gnaw on a decades-old case of a missing young man.  He's kept in touch with the parents over the years, and would like to deliver an answer to the father as he approaches death.  This book isn't the first in the series, but it's a great introduction to Erlendur - revealing his melancholic personality, his dogged persistance in unravelling subtle clues, his dysfunctional family life (is that a prerequisite for detectives?), and a haunting past. 

These traits persist in the next book I read, Arctic Chill.  The mystery is solved, and we gain more clarity about Erlendur's tragic past.  This book left me with a taste for more Erlendur.

To my surprise, in Outrage, Erlendur is absent, and the onus of solving the murder passes to his partner Detective Elinborg.  She echoes Erlendur's attention to details, and solves the case while balancing work with the demands of a family.  Elinborg is the author of cookbook and her knowledge of food is a key asset in solving the case.  I missed Erlendur, but thoroughly enjoyed Elinborg's time in the spotlight.  I'll be back for more of this series.  There seem to be ten books of this series which have been translated and I expect I will get to all ten - eventually.

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