Saturday, 10 February 2018

"The Shadow District" A Reykjavik Wartime Mystery by Arnaldur Indridason

Book 1 published 2017
You know what to expect with an Indridason thriller. Recurring themes are: secrets, guilt, loneliness, social class, old age, the past meeting the present, folklore and the power of the Icelandic landscape.

This new series introduces the 1940's detective, Flovent, part of the city's fledgling C.I.D. and Thorson, a liaison officer for the occupying U.S. forces and the Icelandic police.
Flovent has a fascinating backstory comprising an abusive father, dodgy seances and a spell in Edinburgh studying criminology. Thorson is a loner and closet homosexual with a passionate sense of  honour and justice. Flovent seems to be an ongoing character. I do hope we return to Thorson in later books. This character is as rich as the aging detective Erlendur (from previous novels).

"The Shadow District" is cleverly structured. Present day (retired) detective Konrad investigates an old crime - a young woman is found strangled in 1944 (prior to Iceland's independence).
Past melds with present as both Thorson and Konrad carry out parallel investigations 70 years apart. A simple murder in a shady part of Reykjavik escalates into a tangled tale of rape, sexual mores, misfits, superstition, political intrigue and family secrets.

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