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Archive for the ‘Silence of the Grave’ Category

JarCityA man is found murdered in his basement apartment, head cracked open, and Inspector Erlendur is assigned the case. The only clue: a handwritten, three word note found on the body. The murder weapon? A bloody glass ash tray is found at the scene, as well as blood found on the corner of an overturned coffee table. The motive? Unknown. In searching the apartment, Erlendur finds a blurry photo of a graveyard headstone pasted under a desk drawer. What the note and photo mean baffle Erlendur and his team, Sigurdur Oli and Elinborg.

As you may know, whenever I go to a new mystery bookstore, I ask for a must read recommendation. I went to the Mysterious Bookshop in lower Manhattan because I thought they had a good selection of pulp mysteries. Wrong! But I asked my question. The first bookseller waffled and started pulling all different types of mysteries off the shelf-none even close to the police procedurals/legal dramas I named for him.

The second bookseller when straight to Jar City; no hesitations. It was right on. Erlendur is a person. He is long-time divorced, has no relationship with his 20-something son and a very strained relationship with his drug addicted daughter. In some respects he’s the Icelandic version of Columbo; sleeps in his clothes and always looks rumpled. He’s persistent in the face of co-worker doubt. And, his far-fetched theories typically pan out.

Indridason takes Jar City into avenues not anticipated by the reader after learning about the murder, that is the investigation of a death occurring 40 years earlier. Iceland and its natives provide a very unique backdrop for this mystery.

Jar City won the Nordic Crime Novel Award and its sequel, Silence of the Grave, which I recently read, won both this award and the Gold Dagger Award. It’s nice to find a new mystery author with a unique style and not too many books in the series to catch up on. With only six or eight books, I can definitely keep up. So, if you’re looking for a good rainy mystery (it seems they were going through their version of Noah’s flood), Jar City and Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason.

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