Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason

In this first of a series set in Reykjavik, Iceland, detective inspector Erlendur Sveinsson finds a long old man murdered in his apartment. Erlendur’s partners in this suspenseful series are Sigurdur Oli and their female colleague Elinborg.

Because Iceland is such a very small community, everyone in Iceland refers to one another by first name. Erlendur is about 50, haunted by the death of his younger brother when they were children, is divorced and has children of his own with drug problems.  (Yes, a bit depressing of a character).

Murder is extremely rare in Iceland and when it is committed, the crime is usually one of passion.  In Jar City, this is not the case, making it extremely challenging for Erlendur and his team.  The killing of the victim, a very elder senior called Holberg, seems to be inexplicable until Erlendur discovers the the series of rapes Holberg apparently committed. The rapes and the deaths of a number of young women may be connected, and the search brings Erlendur to the forensic lab, whose old “jar city,” since disbanded, held research organs. Meanwhile, Erlendur’s daughter, Eva Lind, is pregnant and still using; she flits in and out of his life angrily, but may be crying out for help. Reykjavík’s physicality, and the fact that crimes are relatively rare in Iceland, gives things a defamiliarizing cast.

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One Response to “Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason”

  1. Christina Says:

    I recently read Silence of the Grave by Indridason and greatly enjoyed it. Can’t wait to read his others, including this one!

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