Icelandic crime writer Arnaldur Indriðason introduces us to two new pairs of investigators: Icelandic detective Flóvent and first generation Canadian Thorson who’s serving in the American military police come with a historical setting – we’re in Iceland in World War II when it is under occupation by British and then American forces; in the present, we meet retired Reykjavik detective Kónrad and, occasionally, his former colleague Marta.
The murder of an old man in the present triggers an investigation with connections back to Kónrad’s childhood in Reykjavik’s Shadow District and the discovery of the body of a young woman in the same area in 1944, whose murder was investigated by Flóvent and Thorson.
If you’re missing Erlender, try this! It’s the first in a new series. So far, so good.
It’s the run up to Christmas and Erlendur is investigating the murder of the doorman-cum-caretaker at a Reykjavík hotel. His daughter Eva Lind is clean and recovering from the loss of her baby. We witness his first encounter with Valgerdur. And we learn more about the death of his younger brother in a snowstorm, the impact it had on his family and how much the event has shaped Erlendur’s own life.
On one of his sporadic pilgrimages back to the eastern fjords, Erlendur embarks – almost by chance – on the investigation of a woman who went missing in a storm in 1942. An investigation that spurs memories of his own time lost in a blizzard at a 10 year old, out searching for lost sheep with his father and younger brother Beggi. A double tale of life changing loss in a remote community in rural Iceland.
No Erlendur, and only a few passing references to Elínborg. The focus is on Sigurdur Óli: his relationships, blackmail, wife swapping, Iceland’s crazy banking boom and a down and old contact of Erlendur’s.
As Kleifarvatn lake’s water level slowly drops – no one really knows why – a skeleton is discovered, tied to an old radio transmitter and with a whole in its head.
In parallel with Detectives Erlendur, Elínborg and Sigurður Óli’s murder investigation (and Elínborg’s cookery book launch), we hear fellow Icelander Tómas’ experience as a Easy German Communist Party sponsored student at the University of Leipzig during the 1950s.
The two stories converge due to Erlendur’s dogged digging into the disappearance of a tractor salesman in 1968.