Arnaldur Indriðason, 1961-

Book - 2010

Unofficially investigating a suspicious suicide, Inspector Erlendur becomes increasingly unsettled by the unsolved cases of two young people who went missing decades earlier under circumstances tied to his own past.

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MYSTERY/Arnaldur Indridason
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New York : Minotaur Books 2010.
Main Author
Arnaldur Indriðason, 1961- (-)
Other Authors
Victoria Cribb (-)
1st U.S. ed
Item Description
Originally published in Iceland as Hardskafi.
Physical Description
314 p.
Contents unavailable.
Review by New York Times Review

Choosing books for picky friends can be humbling. There's always one smarty-pants who has read not only the gift book but everything else in the author's oeuvre. Another recipient refuses to consider any story about "some stupid girl." And how about that ingrate who scorns the genre altogether, claiming to have developed more mature tastes? I'm speaking, of course, about buying books for children. Picking crime novels for grown-ups is a breeze. Someone on your list is sure to treasure Robert B. Parker's last novel, SPLIT IMAGE (Putnam, $25.95). And even old dependables like Donna Leon and Dennis Lehane can still be surprising. Ian Rankin departs from his tartan-noir police procedurals to write about a brazen art heist in DOORS OPEN (Reagan Arthur/ Little, Brown, $24.99), while in STILL MIDNIGHT (Reagan Arthur/ Little, Brown, $24.99), Denise Mina begins a new series dealing with class and race hostilities in Glasgow. But this year's tour de force is THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY (Riverhead, $25.95), Walter Mosley's character study of a 91-year-old recluse who becomes an unlikely hero. Even your dullest friends are up for an adventure, or they wouldn't be your friends. So don't hesitate to give them something outside their comfort zone. In THE LOCK ARTIST (Thomas Dunne/Minotaur, $24.99), Steve Hamilton introduces a young man whose talent for picking locks puts him in bondage to the mob. Charlie Huston's SLEEPLESS (Ballantine, $25) is a police procedural about an idealistic cop chasing narcotics traffickers in a futuristic world run by Big Pharma. SO COLD THE RIVER (Little, Brown, $24.99), by Michael Koryta, takes a cinematographer to a pretty valley where the water gives him dreamy visions and a really bad headache. LOVE SONGS FROM A SHALLOW GRAVE (Soho, $25) is Colin Collerill's latest mystery featuring the witty Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of the People's Democratic Republic of Laos. Writers of psychological suspense make it their business to keep readers guessing. Ruth Rendell's PORTOBELLO (Scribner, $26) is a wry homage to the enduring eccentricities of her British countrymen. Rendell never writes the same book twice, and neither does Jesse Kellerman, whose playful cruelty takes a macabre turn in THE EXECUTOR (Putnam, $25.95) when a grad student becomes obsessed with the elderly woman who hires him to read to her. For the gift-giver, there's no greater satisfaction than introducing a friend to a new writer. Belinda Bauer's first novel, BLACKLANDS (Simon & Schuster, $23), takes us into the troubled mind of a 12-year-old who befriends a killer supposedly locked up for life. In A THOUSAND CUTS (Viking, $24.95), an equally bleak first novel by Simon Lelic, a teacher goes berserk, shoots three students and kills himself - for reasons that will floor you. When it comes to the crunch (something for a sullen teenager, hostile neighbor, unbearably saintly mother-in-law), the secret is to make them laugh. Deborah Coonts's WANNA GET LUCKY? (Forge/Tom Doherty, $24.99), set at the "most over-the-top megacasino/resort on the Las Vegas Strip," entrusts the sleuthing to a brainy beauty who sees the lighter side of human folly. The humor is more morbid in A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY (Thomas Dunne/ Minotaur, $24.99), Sophie Littlefield's portrait of a female vigilante who extends a (bloody) helping hand to battered women. Thomas Perry is kinder to the cute if disaster-prone mobsters in his gangland thriller, STRIP (Otto Penzler/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26). And in HOLLYWOOD HILLS (Little, Brown, $26.99), Joseph Wambaugh takes us on a great ride with the folks in blue at the most colorful cop-shop under the sun. To be really bold, give gifts that make people cry. In THE RED DOOR (Morrow/HarperCollins, $24.99), the mother and son who team-write as Charles Todd will tear you up with their image of a wife faithfully waiting for her husband to return from the battlefields of World War I. John Harvey delivers a weeper in FAR CRY (Otto Penzler/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26), which assigns sensitive detectives to the case of a mother who loses a daughter, remarries and years later loses another daughter possibly to the same killer. Tana French also plucks those heartstrings in FAITHFUL PLACE (Viking, $25.95), when a cop goes back to his old neighborhood to resolve the 22-year-old mystery of his sweetheart's disappearance. If you're really desperate, give friends books that will make them think. Reggie Nadelson takes the political pulse of Harlem after Barack Obama's election, in BLOOD COUNT (Walker, $26), while in BODY WORK (Putnam, $26.95), Sara Paretsky throws fresh fuel on the smoldering issue of whether provocatively erotic art leads to violence against women. The serial rapist killing civilian women on the besieged island of Malta in Mark Mills's wartime thriller, THE INFORMATION OFFICER (Random House, $25), raises alarms about the psychological strains of war. Stuart Neville treats the same subject from a different perspective in COLLUSION (Soho, $25), about a Belfast police detective reliving the Troubles that never seem to end. And in A LILY OF THE FIELD (Atlantic Monthly, $24), John Lawton gives a harrowing account of two musicians whose lives and careers are shattered by the Anschluss. If all this holiday cheer starts to get to you, maybe you should avoid Arnaldur Indridason's HYPOTHERMIA (Thomas Dunne/ Minotaur, $24.99), a bone-chilling meditation on the Icelandic propensity for suicide. What could possibly bring more satisfaction than introducing a friend to a new crime writer?

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [December 5, 2010]
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Indridason, Iceland's most widely read novelist, once told an interviewer that crime fiction is about so much more than just crime. In his latest mystery, as if to prove his point, Indridason has his series hero, Reykjavik police detective Erlendur, investigate what appears to be the suicide of a young woman. There is no evidence of foul play, and there are numerous indications that the woman suffered from depression due to the death of her mother and the drowning of her father when she was a child. At the same time, Erlendur is trying to solve two cold cases, the disappearances of two young people three decades earlier. For Erlendur, all three investigations resonate like Proust's madaleines, compelling him to continue. Hypothermia is defiantly unconventional crime fiction. No shoot-outs, no car chases, no monstrous villains; only tragedies and the pain they inflict on ordinary people like Erlendur. As he interviews a lengthy succession of people who might shed light on the suicide and the disappearances, the gloomy Icelandic cop continues to wrestle with the tragedies in his own life: his eight-year-old brother's disappearance in a blizzard and the impact of his disastrous marriage on his children. Some crime fans might be puzzled by this novel's dearth of action, but it is psychologically astute, beautifully told, and filled with insight into matters of life and death.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

At the start of Indridason's powerful sixth Reykjavik thriller (after Arctic Chill), the body of Maria, a woman ravaged by guilt, is found hanging in her holiday cottage, an apparent suicide. As Erlendur, a police detective who works largely alone because he prizes solitude above all else, doggedly interviews those close to Maria-her husband, her relatives, her friends-in an unofficial effort to understand what might have driven her to take her own life, he unravels an ingenious and sinister plot. Complicating his investigation are the ghosts from his personal and professional past: his failed marriage and his shaky relationships with the son and daughter who grew up without him, as well as unsolved missing-persons cases he still feels morally compelled to pursue. Most scalding of all is his memory of the blizzard that he barely survived as a boy but in which his younger brother perished, the tragic event that shaped Erlendur's later life and lends mythic resonance to Indridason's remarkable novels. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Icelandic author Indridason's sixth series entry (after The Draining Lake) is a departure from the previous books: Inspector Erlendur unofficially investigates the suicide of a young woman at her summer cottage. Erlendur is determined to re-create her experiences and find out what could have driven her to take her life. At the same time, he reopens the cases of two young people who went missing decades earlier. Because the father of the missing young man is dying, Erlendur hopes to bring him closure before it is too late. Through these investigations Erlendur may be able finally to come to terms with the tragedy in his past. -VERDICT Though not a typical police procedural in which Erlendur solves a crime with his team, this is highly recommended for fans of Indridason's previous mysteries and for lovers of Scandinavian crime fiction. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 4/1/10.]-Jean King, West Hempstead P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A suicide reminds a veteran inspector of previous sad casesand of ghosts from his own past.Mara, a historian, is found hanged in her country cottage by her childhood friend Karen, with whom she'd planned a getaway weekend. Mara's husband Baldvin, a doctor, is equally distraught by her death. Though his wife showed no signs of depression, flashbacks from her perspective tell a different story. Not only was she melancholy since the death of her beloved mother Leonra a couple of years ago, she had an intense interest in the afterlife and was consulting with psychics. While not questioning the coroner's conclusion of suicide, grim Inspector Erlendur (Arctic Chill,2009, etc.) is bothered by several details of the case, not least Baldvin's decision to have Mara cremated. For many years, an elderly man named Tryggvi has periodically visited Erlendur for news of his son, a university student who vanished one evening. In light of Mara's death, Erlendur feels compelled to reexamine this case and a handful of others more carefully. At length, he discovers some surprising and significant details. At the prompting of his daughter Eva Lind, clean after years of drug abuse, he agrees to a meeting with his ex-wife and offers a deeply felt account of the childhood death of his younger brother, an incident that has indelibly shadowed his life for decades.Though series fans may miss sidekicks Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, relegated to minor roles, they'll welcome another haunting mystery from the Gold Dagger Award winner, whose work transcends genre.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

HYPOTHERMIA   1 The emergency line received a call from a mobile phone shortly after midnight. An agitated female voice cried: 'She's...María's killed herself...I...it's horrible...horrible!' 'What's your name, please?' 'Ka - Karen.' 'Where are you calling from?' the emergency operator asked. 'I'm at...it's...her holiday cottage...' 'Where? Where is it?' '...At Lake Thingvallavatn. At...at her holiday cottage. Please hurry...I...I'll be here...'   Karen thought she would never find the cottage. It had been a long time, nearly four years, since her last visit. María had given her detailed directions just to be on the safe side, but they had more or less gone in one ear and out the other because Karen had assumed she would remember the way. It was past eight in the evening and pitch dark by the time she left Reykjavík. She drove over Mosfellsheidi moor where there was little traffic, just the odd pair of headlights passing by on their way to town. Only one other car was travelling east and she hung on its red rear lights, grateful for the company. She didn't like driving alone in the dark and would have set off earlier if she hadn't been held up. She worked in the public-relations department of a large bank and it had seemed as if the meetings and phone calls would never let up. Karen was aware of the mountain Grímannsfell to her right, although she couldn't see it, and Skálafell to her left. Next she drove past the turning to Vindáshlíd where she had once spent a two-week summer holiday as a child. She followed the red tail lights at a comfortable speed until they drove down through the Kerlingarhraun lava field, and there their ways parted. The red lights accelerated and disappeared into the darkness. She wondered if they were heading for the pass at Uxahryggir and north over the Kaldidalur mountain road. She had often taken that route herself. It was a beautiful drive down the Lundarreykjadalur valley to Borgarfjördur fjord. The memory of a lovely summer's day once spent at Lake Sandkluftavatn came back to her. Karen herself turned right and drove on into the blackness of the Thingvellir national park. She had difficulty identifying the landmarks in the gloom. Should she have turned off sooner? Was this the right turning down to the lake? Or was it the next? Had she come too far? Twice she went wrong and had to turn round. It was a Thursday evening and most of the cottages were empty. She had brought along a supply of food and reading material, and María had told her that they had recently installed a television in the cottage. But Karen's main intention was to try to sleep, to get some rest. The bank was like a madhouse after the recent abortive takeover. She had reached the point where she could no longer make any sense of the infighting between the different factions among the major shareholders. Press releases were issued at two-hourly intervals and, to make matters worse, it transpired that a severance payment of a hundred million krónur had been promised to one of the bank's partners, someone whom a particular faction wanted to fire. The board had succeeded in stirring up public outrage, and it was Karen's job to smooth things over. It had been like this for weeks now and she was at the end of her tether by the time it occurred to her to escape from town. María had often offered to lend her the cottage for a few days, so Karen decided to give her a call. 'Of course,' María had said at once. Karen made her way slowly along a primitive track through low-growing scrub until her headlights lit up the cottage down by the water. María had given her a key and told her where they kept a spare. It was sometimes useful to have an extra key hidden at the cottage. She was looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning amidst the autumn colours of Thingvellir. For as long as she could remember people had flocked to the national park in the autumn, since few places in the country could boast such a brilliant display of colour as here by the lake where the rust-red and orange shades of the dying leaves extended as far as the eye could see. She started to ferry her luggage from the car to the sun deck beside the door. Then, putting the key in the lock, she opened the door and groped for the light switch. The light came on in the hallway leading to the kitchen and she took her little suitcase inside and placed it in the master bedroom. To her surprise, the bed was unmade. That was not like María. A towel was lying on the floor of the lavatory. When she turned on the light in the kitchen she became aware of a strange presence. Although she was not afraid of the dark, she felt a sudden sensation of physical unease. The living room was in darkness. By daylight there was a superb view of the lake from its windows. Karen turned on the living-room light. Four solid beams extended across the ceiling, and from one of them a body was hanging, its back turned to her. Shock sent her crashing back against the wall and her head slammed into the wood panelling. Everything went black. The body hung from the beam by a thin blue cord, mirrored in the dark living-room window. She didn't know how long it was before she dared to inch closer. The tranquil surroundings of the lake had in an instant been converted into the setting for a horror story that she would never forget. Every detail was etched on her memory. The kitchen stool, out of place in the minimalist living room, lying on its side under the body; the blue of the rope; the reflection in the window; the darkness of Thingvellir; the motionless human body suspended from the beam. Karen approached cautiously and caught sight of the swollen blue face. Her ghastly suspicion proved correct. It was her friend María.   Copyright (c) 2007 by Arnaldur Indridason. English translation copyright (c) 2009 by Victoria Cribb. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010. Excerpted from Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriðason All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.