Hypothermia is the 6th novel in Arnaldur Indridason's Rejkjavik murder mystery series. I've enjoyed all of them so far, although I started to feel when reading the last installment Arctic Chill, that they were becoming rather formulaic.

Each of Indridason's novels follows a similar pattern - a modern day mystery is found to have links with an unsolved disappearance or murder from 20-30 years ago. Erlendur, the hero, who is obsessed with a family disappearance from (you've guessed it) 20-30 years ago, solves the modern mystery and uncovers the resolution to the historical mystery at the same time. It's clever but by the 5th re-telling the formula can start to pall a little. So I wasn't altogether sure when starting Hypothermia whether I was going to enjoy it or find it to be just more of the same.

I'm delighted to say that I think that this is Indridason's best novel so far. As you might expect from the title it is a chilling read, it is truly haunting, and beautifully written. The story starts fairly low-key, a woman commits suicide, she has been depressed for some time following the death of her mother, and has become obsessed with psychics. Her friend, Karen, however is not convinced that she was suicidal, and asks Erlendur to look into the matter. Erlendur is sceptical, but gradually becomes convinced that there is more to the case than there initially appears to be.

Meanwhile while unofficially investigating this he re-opens some old missing persons' cases with surprising results.

The novel does have flaws - there are a lot of coincidences, although to be fair coincidences do happen. And I wasn't entirely convinced how likely it would be that a policeman would be able to carry on such an intense personal investigation with so little evidence. But, it is very good - it reminded me a lot of the film Les Diaboliques. It had the same haunting menace, and some of the plotting certainly seemed to be inspired by it.

It was also ultimately a very moving read contrasting the love of one couple and their wider family, and the very different case of the family and couple at the centre of the narrative. Stunning read. The best Erlendur so far, and actually a great place to start with this series - so much of the background to Erlendur's life is filled in that this really works as a stand-alone novel not just one more in a wider series.


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