13 August 2009

Icelandic mystery

After I posted the list of Swedish mystery novels that Dan sent along, Carol added a couple books to the list.

When I stopped at the Amery library on my way to Sidetrack, the only one I could remember was Jar City by an author whose name began with an I. On the shelf, right between the Hs and Js were half a dozen mysteries by authors whose names began with I. And in the midst of them was Arnaldur Indridason's [right] Jar City.

Now, I'm not picky, but Indridason is Icelandic, not Swedish. And his second name, perhaps a patrnym, is not a "proper surname." Combine that with the tiny Icelandic society and you get a place where everyone addresses everyone else by their first name. Even the phone books catalog people by their first names.

Arnaldur's book is subtitled, "A Reykjavik [right] Thriller." It's not a thriller. Technically, it's a police procedural novel. The story centers around the efforts of a detective named Erlendur to find the murderer of a thoroughly disgusting character named Holberg. There are a couple side stories, the most interesting is about Erlendur's daughter, and it compliments the main story well.

The plot is nicely complicated and the telling weaves all the pieces together nicely. It's a nice book. I read it during a couple days at the lake when I took breaks from writing teaching materials. It was a break book. I was never tempted to put aside my work to read. I read because I wanted a break from writing.

Hey, good news. There were practically no improbabilities in this book. The Heart of Gold's infinite improbability drive wouldn't get very far on this novel.

Carol liked this one. I liked it in a nice way. Maybe Carol will tell the rest of us why she liked it.

If you read Jar City, write and tell us what you think of it.

I have a Lindsey Davis historical mystery novel, set in the Roman Empire's Londinium, to go on to. I look forward to Davis' authentic-sounding descriptions of life in that frontier outpost of pre-Italian civilization.

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