There is an ongoing storyline in the previous books in the series about Erlendur’s brother being lost in a snowstorm as a child. Erlendur has always blamed himself for this, but the reader doesn’t know too much about the background of the incident. This book finally addresses this storyline with Erlendur’s return to his childhood home in east Iceland. While he tries to find out exactly what happened to his brother who was never found, he also investigates the historical disappearance of local woman Matthildur, who was also lost on the moor during a storm. As he talks to elderly residents about their memories of Matthildur, will they be able to shed any light on his brother’s case?
I’ve always loved the idea of the brother-in-the-snowstorm story, so this is the book I’ve been waiting for. I managed to hold on to it for three months before reading it. I’m happy to say that there is closure – I was worried this would be one of those stories that was never actually resolved. I loved this book and preferred it to the previous two which focused more on Erlendur’s colleagues. There is a bit of a last-book-in-series-tying-up-loose-ends feel to this one and I can see how some wouldn’t like the ending.
The reason I think this book could be hated by some is that the overall tone is quite different to the others in the series. Anyone buying it thinking it’s a gritty modern crime thriller will be disappointed. The tone is sad more than scary, and it’s more of a “story” than a crime novel. The mention of Reykjavík on the cover to attract foreign readers is a mistake, as nothing takes place there. This is a book not to be read out of order from the others in the series – you must read this one last.
The normally reclusive Indriðason recently gave an interview to The Telegraph to celebrate the book’s release.
I understand the next book takes us back to 1972 and the focus is on Marion Briem – can’t wait!