I think this is my favorite book so far in Arnaldur Indidason’s Inspector Erlendur series. Everything and everyone is moving forward in this installment, for better or worse. At the heart of the investigation is Erlendur’s personal specialty; the unending mysteries and pain brought on by missing persons cases.
An earthquake caused the naturally occurring fissures in Lake Kleifarvatn to enlarge and the lake is draining at an alarming rate. A research scientist is out checking equipment in the dry lake bed and discovers a skeleton. Upon closer inspection, she sees it is human. The authorities are called and soon Erlendur is pulled in from his vacation to head the team looking into the mystery. It is discovered that the body had been weighted down with Russian radio transmitter equipment and soon we are in the midst of cold war intrigue, young Icelandic communists studying abroad and-gasp-spies?
Throughout the book, Erlendur is dealing with his daughter, Eva Lind, who he managed to get put back in treatment rather than jail when she attacked Sigurdur Oli during a routine drug bust. His son Sindri makes his first appearance. Sigurdur Oli and his partner Begortha are trying to conceive and Elinborg has published a cookbook, to very positive acclaim. And all is not melancholy for Erlendur, as he is cautiously pursuing a relationship with Valgerdur, a woman he met in the last book. Don’t get me wrong, Erlendur is still one morose dude, but I find him so compelling. His melancholy is deeply ingrained, as the loss of his brother is one that he has never recovered from and I honestly don’t know if he will. It’s not that I wish dear Erlendur any ill, it’s just that I get the feeling that Indridason isn’t interested in happy endings and things tied up neatly in a bow. Life is messy. People go missing. And some are just never found.