In this, the 2nd Inspector Erlendur novel, a man notices that his toddler daughter is gnawing on something that looks like a bone…a human rib bone. Eek. It is determined that the girls older brother found it while playing with friends at a construction site and out comes Erlendur to investigate this cold case. Meanwhile, he receives a call from his estranged daughter Eva Lind, who is a drug addict and 7 months pregnant, weakly pleading for help before the line goes dead. He races off to search for her, and finds her bleeding and unconscious. She loses the baby and spends the remainder of the book in a coma. Throughout the book, Erlendur visits her and talks to her, recounting old articles he’s read about Icelandic history and finally, about his own personal tragedy. There is a lot of back story to fill in about him and his former wife Halldor as well, and as he talks through the nights to his coma sticken daughter, we see him struggle with the man he is and what kind of a parent he has been in the past.
The mystery of the bones takes a lot of turns and heads a down a blind alley or two but Erlendur, along with partners Ellinborg and Sigurdur Oli eventually get to the bottom of things. Between the drama with Eva Lind and the unrelenting horrors of domestic violence that led to the deaths in the police cold case, this was a rather grim read. Dark and relentless as those long winter Icelandic nights. While I really enjoy Indidasons writing and the complex character of Erlendur, I think I’ll read something a little more light hearted next. Sunshine, anyone?