Hypothermia, By Arnaldur Indridason
Sunday 21 November 2010
The Nordic crime novel is now almost a genre in its own right. Arnaldur Indridason's latest Icelandic saga embodies many of the defining features: the dark atmosphere, the brooding, empty spaces, the long journeys and long-buried crimes, and the dogged, taciturn detective – topped off with ice and snow.
A woman is found dead, hanging from a beam in her holiday cottage. It looks like a straightforward suicide case, but Detective Erlendur comes upon a tape of a séance the woman attended shortly before she died. He starts to dig. She went to a medium known as Magdalena, but Magdalena doesn't seem to exist. The lineaments of other crimes and tragedies gradually appear. In the course of the investigation, Erlendur re-opens two missing-person cases. His own sorrows and regrets struggle towards the light.
This is a humane, unsentimental study of grief and guilt, which is both moving and unsettling. It's also a softly gripping narrative, without ever resorting to fight scenes, car chases or torture.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
This house and dental clinic 'piled up like bricks on the brink of collapsing' is why Japan wins at architecture
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
James Cameron hypes up Avatar sequels: 'You will s**t yourself with your mouth wide open'
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Ed Miliband's 'north London set' must be demolished to save Labour, say critics
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'