Translated from the Icelandic by Bernard Scudder and Victoria Cribbb
Publisher: Harvill Secker
On a cold January day the Reykjavik police are called to the scene of a crime. A nine year old boy of Asian descent lies dead; frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. He has been stabbed in the stomach. The boy’s Thai mother and his fifteen- year-old half brother are both devastated by his death. Has racism reared its ugly head and caused the death of this young innocent?
It is up to Inspector Erlendur and his team, Elinborg and Sirgurdur Oli to find out who would want to kill a little boy in such a brutal fashion. They all hope that racism hasn’t reared its ugly head and been the reason for the death of this young innocent.
What is it about Northern European countries that is churning out so many fine crime writers? Is it the long cold winters that keeps people indoors and fires their imagination? Or is there something darker in their souls? Whatever it is, add Iceland to the list of countries producing top-flight writers.
In ARCTIC CHILL, Indridason was written a very solid police procedural indeed. But he has done much more than that. He also explores the issues of immigration and racism. Indridason also strikes a nice balance between the work of the detectives and their lives outside of their work. In particular, the reader learns more about Erlendur and his childhood which helps explain more about the man.
I do admit to some initial confusion with the names. Why are Erlendur and Elinborg just referred to by single names (I’m assuming surnames) and why is Sirgurdur Oli always given two names? The same thing arises with Erlendur’s children. If anyone knows the answer I’d be interested to know. It’d save me considerable googling time. I’m afraid I can offer no prizes other than the inner glow of satisfaction you’d get from enlightening me and my grateful thanks. So if that floats your boat, feel free.
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