Icelandic noir

I've loved all of Arnaldur Indridason's Erlendur mysteries. Ok, they're gloomy, and of late have started to become a bit formulaic, but they're nevertheless Scandinavian noir of a high order. Outrage moves off, I think very successfully, in a slightly different direction.

In this episode of the Icelandic murder mysteries Erlendur is off trekking in a remote part of Iceland leaving one of his sidekicks, the policewoman Elinborg in charge. She is called in to investigate a particularly violent case of murder, her nose for non-Icelandic cuisines will prove to be essential in locating a possible suspect. But, all is not quite as it seems, and, as is typical of Indridason's mysteries, this very modern crime will have its roots in the past.

I loved Elinborg, and felt that she brought a fresh breath of life to the series. She too, in common with Erlendur, has family problems, but hers are much more of the everyday relatable kind. Her children and family are well portrayed. Elinborg herself is a very ordinary person, I found her very easy to relate to, but in a genre that is saturated with larger than life and rather odd characters, I found her very ordinariness endearing.

Ok the crime isn't perfect - there's a bit too much in the way of coincidence, but it's cleverly put together, and the contrast of urban cosmopolitan Reykjavik, with a remote Icelandic community was well done. There's also a great Erlendur-related cliffhanger at the end. This is probably not the best novel to read if you're new to the series, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.


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