I've read a few books by Icelandic author, Arnladur
Indridason about the
unique landscape and difficult conditions on this volcanic
island in the north Atlantic. The main detective is
Erlendur Sveinsson of ReykjavĂk CID, a man trying to cope
with the separation of his family, who has a modern
outlook, if not a television.
REYKJAVIK NIGHTS are never uneventful, as drink causes
fractious incidents both domestic and public. When the
policeman does get a break, he reconsiders the case of a
tramp found drowned in old peat workings. Over the years
he'd picked the homeless man Hannibal off the street more
than once, to stop him from dying of exposure. The man's
last refuge had been concrete pipe casings carrying
geothermal heat to power the city's homes. He's not the
only person to have died - or vanished. Could they all
died from exposure in the black winter nights, or is
something else to blame?
I always love visiting Erlendur and learning more about
this country. The sights vary from hot springs to Nissen
huts left by American occupying forces during WW2.
is the traditional occupation, but today there are just as
many drug smugglers as anywhere else. Rather than serious
crime though, I get the impression that most Icelandic
people need to be saved from themselves. Heavily drunk
drivers, no seatbelts worn, an assumption that someone
vanished has jumped into the winter sea to commit suicide
if anyone not from the island wrote this they'd be accused
of proliferating negative stereotypes.
Erlendur's social conscience forces him to keep asking
about the dead tramp, finding out that he had been
in a luckily quenched house fire, and that another tramp
believes someone killed Hannibal. The stories are simply
told, interlaced with Erlendur's daily work, and we learn
how Hannibal had built army camps and airports in his
younger days. Why would anyone have wanted to kill him?
What tragedy had he known? And why was a single gold
earring found in his makeshift camp?
If you enjoy gritty, atmospheric crime, you could hardly
better than Arnaldur Indriadason, and REYKJAVIK NIGHTS is
classic with all the expected motives from the most
In this stunning prequel to his critically acclaimed
Inspector Erlendur series, Arnaldur Indridason gives
fans a glimpse of Erlendur as a young, budding detective.
The beat on the streets in Reykjavik is busy: traffic
accidents, theft, domestic violence, contraband â€¦ And an
When a tramp he met regularly on the night shift is found
drowned in a ditch, no one seems to care. But his fate
haunts Erlendur and drags him inexorably into the strange
and dark underworld of the city.
The writer whose work The New York Times describes as
"having the sweep and consequence of epic story telling"
outdone himself in this multi-layered and masterful
story. His latest book in the series, Strange Shores, was
nominated for the 2014 Crime Writers of America Gold