Murders aren't common in Iceland, but they do occur. Inspector Erlendur leads the police team assigned to investigate the murder of an old man in his Reykjavik flat. It looks like a crime of passion, except there is a note lying on the body. What does the old picture of a young girl's gravestone have to do with the man? As they investigate the man, Erlendur learns that he had been accused of rape about 40 years earlier but had never gone to trial. Could that be why he is dead now?
Soon the team is investigating not only a present day murder, but 40-year-old incidents that had been carefully hidden and buried. The clues and evidence, along with advice from Erlendur's mentor, Marion Bream, lead them around hidden paths and unexpected corners. But they still have to discover how those happenings so long ago affect the present. Who killed the old man? And why?
That short synopsis of the novel doesn't do it justice. Jar City is a well crafted detective novel - no thriller, no cozy mystery, no suspense - just a good detective novel. I was web surfing one day and found myself at Amazon France (my French is high school sparse, so I didn't understand much). This book was featured. So I researched it in English and was intrigued. I checked my local library. I found they carried the book - since Indridason is an Icelandic author, I couldn't be sure. I requested it. I'm very glad I did.
The novel twists around in logical sequence. Each clue they investigate leads them to another that leads to yet another. At times they can't be sure all the leads have to do with the present day murder, but some help uncover old injustices.
Erlendur's personal life is a side story in the novel. He is divorced with grown children. Both children have had problems. At the beginning of Jar City, his daughter appears on his doorstep once again asking for money. He thinks she may be trying to break her drug habit and as he probes, he has to help her. Arnaldur Indridason pulls the two stories together into a novel I recommend any mystery buff should read.
| The Erlunder Series:
Sons of Earth
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The Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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