As in the last novel in the Inspector Erlendur series, Erlendur is nowhere to be found. Covering the same period in time as the last book, this focuses on Sigurdur Oli. While he did pitch in a time or two with Elinborg’s big case, he is actually working something completely different and in his own way.
While attending a school reunion where he is made to feel inferior to his old more “successful” schoolmates, Patrekur takes him aside and asks him a favor. When they meet up the next day, Patrekur has brought along Hermann, his brother-in-law. After some hemming and hawing, it comes out that Hermann and his wife have been involved in some good old fashioned wife swapping. Which was all well and good until one of the couple’s gets the idea to start blackmailing them, threatening to send some salacious and incriminating pictures to the tabloids. You see, Hermann’s wife is seeking public office, so they would do anything to keep this from coming out and ruining her squeaky-clean image. Is there anything Siggy (oooh how he hates that nickname) can do, off the record, to help out his old pal? He agrees to go talk to the woman and negotiate getting the pictures back. Only when he gets there, she is unconscious, having been beaten with a baseball bat and in no time that baseball bat is aimed at him. He manages to deflect the blow and gives chase but loses the assailant. Now he’s got a mess on his hands; how does he explain his presence at that precise moment?
Meanwhile, we are privy to another ongoing story, that of down on his luck Andres, who we first encountered in Arctic Chill. Over the course of the book we learn that he has come across the man who abused him as a young boy and he is determined to take his revenge. Still, he feels a need to contact Erlendur to explain himself, but since no one knows exactly where he is, it falls on Sigurdur Oli to unravel that mystery.
While I didn’t have a problem in theory about an Indridason Reykjavik novel not starring Erlendur, because I did enjoy when Elinborg took center stage, I had trouble with this one. I just don’t like Sigurdur, he’s a bit of a pompous prat and his style is more Americanized due to his training in the US and his continued reverence for American culture. Bleh, there’s a million of his ilk already out there.