**** stars Actually Erlendur is MIA in this book from the series, but it was nice to get to know Elinborg better. A young man is found murdered. One of the few clues is a scarf that emits a very distinct odor. Ms. Elinborg, who doubles as police detective and writer of cookbooks, is probably the only person on the force who can identify the scent and use it to solve the murder. I always enjoy this Icelandic author - good mysteries without lots of graphic violence. Highly recommend, but I suggest that a new reader start from the beginning of the series.
Revenge is a dish best served cold - in Iceland they take that advice seriously.
One European reviewer of this book said it is “a solid, unfussy and highly compelling account of the consequences of crimes on the minutiae of the lives of families and friends of the victims”; the reviewer is sort of correct, but this book is really just a facile expression of current political correctness and does not attempt a thorough or even a superficial exploration of the overall issues it raises; the story is much more about victims and their families who are deep in self-pity for years on end than it is about finding a killer and so it ought to have dealt at least partly with other important facets of the subject, like the occasional vengeful and even self-justifying allegations of rape that have been sometimes been seen in this city and elsewhere (resulting in a need not to take allegations at face value), or the basic need for victims and their families to start to pick themselves up and move on instead of endlessly wallowing in their misfortune; it’s lot like victims of childhood sexual abuse whose parents (unintentionally or not) instill a permanent and very damaging sense of shame in their child’s mind about what is, speaking as a former victim of such abuse myself, an historically long-standing and probably unending aspect of life with which one needs to learn to live; this book is far too simplistic and politically correct to get my vote; and if you strip out all the over-simplistic pity, there’s really not much in this book beyond trying to create a family life for a character not much seen before in this series
"an engaging addition to the already impressive list of sleuths in Scandinavian crime fiction."
This is an interesting departure from the previous books. The main chief detective, Erlendur, does not appear - he's off east chasing his demons in the mountains - so the book focuses on Elinbor to solve the crime. We learn more about her background and find out that she has her own family issues: the surly teenage son whose blog about his family and life are Elinbor's only connection to what he's doing and thinking. Like all of the previous books there is a deceiving simplicity to the mystery and a spareness to the writing that makes compelling reading. The solution is a surprise and the end leaves the fate of Erlendur, who is alone in the countryside and out of contact, unknown thus setting up the next book. A good read.
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