When a hotel Santa is found murdered a week before Chirstmas, Danish Inspector Erlendur is forced to leave his personal mystery to investigate.
Another interesting tale set in Iceland at Christmastime. The main murder investigation is intermingled with another ongoing case and we learn a lot about both the main victim's childhood and the policeman Erlendur's as well.
Insp. Erlendur Sveinsson is no action hero. He has his own personal demons haunting him. Now he has to set them aside to solve the murder of a onetime choirboy with the chrystalline voice. Erlendur is a relentless hunter determined to find the truth despite the Christmas holiday. What he gradually discovers is a web that reveals interwoven tragedies. As I read this and a previous story by Arnaldur Indridason, my strongest emotional response has been compassion for his characters. This book is about discovery and quiet courage.
*** 1/2 stars. I always enjoy the Erlendur mystery / police procedural series set in Iceland. In this book a handyman man who lives in the basement of a hotel a is found stabbed to death in his Santa suit just before his appearance for the children. He was once a famous choir boy with a beautiful voice. How has he fallen so low? Why does he have a poster of Shirley Temple as the Little Princess on his wall? As usual I had not figured out the murderer and motive until the very end. I like the complexity of the mysteries, but what I love best about this series is the great character development. Erlunder may be terrific at ferreting out the secrets of others, but has a difficult time understanding his drug addicted daughter and his own profound survivor's guilt. Be sure to start with book 1: Jar City and book 2: Silence of the Grave. This is book 3 Indridason is a great pleasure!! Highly recommend the series.
Despite what the immediately writer below says, this is book #5 in the Erlandur series and NOT #3; but it’s nicely written, with good characters on the whole; it's often funny; has some pedophilia and homosexuality elements that are handled surprisingly kindly and that involve characters who are given some redeeming characteristics; the main downside is that there is too much discussion of the detective’s private life that has been already covered in previous books of the series and that shouldn’t get such a long reprise here.
This is the third book in the Inspector Erlendur series. The plots and writing (albeit translated from Icelandic) are improving with each book.
My only complaint is the monotonous side story of Erlendur's drug addict daughter. The relationship is meant to add dramatic tension to his private life but the two characters say the same things to each other over and over and over again.
Still worth reading, but skim the father/daughter dialogues.
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