Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason

Another example of the terrific crime novels coming out of the Scandnavian area (although strictly speaking, Iceland only sort of counts as Scandinavia). Detective Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson is called to the scene of some new home construction because a human bone, a rib, was found at the site. Because the site may have historical significance, a team of archaeologists is also summoned to aid in the excavation.

Erlendur calls in his chief detectives, Sigurdur, Oli & Elinborg to assist in the case and now they all must work with the archaeologists and geologists to undercover the rest of the skeleton. Meanwhile, Erlendur’s personal life is in shambles, his ex-wife Halldora refuses to even speak with him. His daughter, Eva Lind, has left the cryptic message “help me” on his cellphone. His son, Sindri, is out of the country and is of no assistance.

While following the lead of some of Eva Lind’s  friends, he discovers that his daughter has just miscarried her unborn daughter and is found bleeding and in a comatose state, near a hospital. After he gets her to the hospital and the doctors stabilize Eva, Erlendur realizes that it may be touch and go as to whether or not his daughter will survive. And yet, he must go back to the excavation site to help determine if the bone found is a part of a murder victim … and are we dealing with a recent murder or one from a half century before?

There are clues that his team must try to follow, and the trail seems to be leading back in history. If it is a murder, it may have occurred decades before. The author has cleverly woven the story of the present with the story of the past. At first it is a bit confusing, but as you begin to understand, the author fills in the past so that it can fit into the present and resolve the mystery.

The author lives in Reykjavik, Iceland, and has won a Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel for both his earlier book Jar City and for Silence of the Grave, which also won the Gold Dagger Award. This is a truly fascinating read and I intend to go back and read the first in the series, Jar City.

Find and reserve this Icelandic crime novel in our catalog.

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