Justice for all?

Someone to watch over me is the fifth novel in Yrsa Siggurdardottir's likeable Thora Gudmansdottir sequence, following on from the previously reviewed The day is dark. Thora is commissioned by a psychopath to investigate a possible miscarriage of justice - a young man with Down's Syndrome has been incarcerated in an Icelandic version of Broadmoor following an arson attack on the home where he lived, which killed all the disabled residents. As Thora investigates it becomes clear that the home was no place of safety for these people, but who is sending Thora mysterious messages? And how are they linked to a haunting?

Combining a strong crime story with a touch of the supernatural, this novel works really well on all levels. It's a little uneven in the narrative, and slightly odd in how it relates to the rest of the series - Matthew and Thora's relationship seems much more advanced here, than it appeared to be at the end of the previous novel. This would make sense in "real life" in terms of the time lapse between novels; but as sequential novels usually tend to follow each other time-wise, there does seem to have been a sudden leap forward. This is just a minor niggle however; newcomers to the Thora sequence can read this without needing to have read any of the previous novels in the series, and as a crime story it works perfectly well in isolation.

Someone to watch over me is a troubling read though, as it looks at the difference in the way mentally handicapped people are treated under Icelandic law. Whether Yrsa is correct in what she says re the way sentencing works depending on your mental capacity is very worrying if true.

It's a thought-provoking read, as well as being a strong crime novel. I don't think it's as good as some of the earlier novels in the series, and certainly not on a par with the excellent, if very different, I remember you, which was a stunningly creepy read. However any lover of Yrsa Sigurdardottir will love this. And it's well worth reading if you're into Scandinavian Noir.


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