Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Draining Lake-Arnaldur Indridason

The Draining Lake
Arnaldur Indridason
Dunne Sep 2008
ISBN: 9780312358730

Just outside Reykjavik, Iceland, the draining of Lake Kleifarvatn uncovers a skeleton tied to a Cold War Russian radio device. Police inspector Erlendur and his subordinates Elinborg and Oli investigate what is obviously a homicide. With a hole in the skull and the technology employed is found that the murdered corpse was dumped in the early 1970s so they seek missing persons’ cases from that era never solved.

The case haunts Erlendur as does any missing person inquiry because it reminds him of his younger brother who vanished when they were children. As they dig to identify the victim and from there hope to determine who the murderer is , the cops have hope for the former but none for the latter. The culprit could be dead, in Russia, or elsewhere.

The case provides readers with a deep look at the lonely Erlendur, who has spent a lifetime haunted by his sibling’s vanishing; accentuated by the metaphoric “disappearance” of his two estranged children from his present life. The look back to the Cold War at the University of Leipzig adds depth to the current investigation as well as a fascinating glimpse of academic politics. Although the personal woes of Elinborg and Oli feel intrusive, police procedural fans will enjoy the latest Iceland investigation (see VOICES, JAR CITY and SILENCE OF THE GRAVE).

Harriet Klausner