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.
With toddler Julia and new baby Sosia Favonia in tow, Falco and Helena travel to Britannia where Falco has been tasked with sorting out a building project over spend and over run – we know the site as Fishbourne Palace. So it’s worth it in the end.
Sister Maia finds herself with them too, as a result of some subterfuge by Helena in cahoots with Petro, both concerned by what spurned admirer Anacrites might be plotting.
And given the Bath House theme, don’t be surprised at who Falco finds loitering in Britannia …
Newly appointed Procurator of the Sacred Poultry (with a responsibility for goslings), Falco becomes entangled with the world of Roman religions and cults, and the Vestal Virgins in particular!
We see a better side of Helena’s brother Aelianus too. After he literally stumbles across the body of one of the Arval Brethren, with his throat slit, Aelianus offers to help out with Falco’s investigations. Not that Falco sees it that way…