Thursday, January 21, 2010
"Hypothermia", by Arnaldur Indridason
Book 6, in the Reykjavik Murder Mystery series.
This is a fantastic book; its plot is solid, simple with no dramatic and thrilling climaxes, but it is masterfully written giving it depth without any frills. The straightforward writing evokes sentiments while weaving smoothly from one event to another. True to the author's style there is a link between the past and the present with a mix of reality and the supernatural that is gradually blended into the story as we follow a thoughtful, compassionate protagonist that has a strong desire to resolve old cases
This fascinating mystery moves at a pleasant speed and opens when Erlendur receives a tape of a séance attended by a woman who subsequently committed suicide. She had attempted to communicate with her mother to discover what afterlife has in store for her. Erlendur's inner need to learn more and to understand what drove the woman this far triggers a panoply of events. The search for answers brings him far into the depths of his own personal history and the loss of his young brother in a blizzard.
The author's perception of grief is brought forward in this novel but it is not all sadness it has some funny moments with superb interludes into the magical Icelandic landscape.
"Hypothermia" is not your conventional police procedural novel; it focuses a great part on the protagonist and his dysfunctional family life. I recommend this series for its solid mystery, great character development and original subject matter tied to Icelandic myth and culture.