The next book in the Reykjavik thriller series featuring the morose detective Erlendur centers around a suicide that may not have been a simple suicide and a couple of 30 year old missing persons cases. This is an interesting chapter in the continuing saga of Erlendur because he completely goes off on his own to investigate these mysteries. As it is not part of an official investigation, he has no warrants or the like and has to convince witnesses and authorities alike to even talk to him. Naturally this is all tied up with his personal issues and he and his family are firmly at the core of this tale.
Karen heads to a vacation villa that she is borrowing from her friend Maria for the weekend. It’s late and already dark when she arrives. As she moves about the house, bringing in her things and turning on lights, she makes a horrific discovery. It appears as though her friend has hung herself in the living room. Initially Erlendur is simply called upon to deliver the news to the husband but after he is visited by Maria’s friend Karen, he takes a personal interest and begins his inquiry. Concurrently, he is looking into a cold case of a young man going missing 30 years ago. He soon makes a connection to another missing persons report and is now making headway for the first time.
Throughout, he is forging a tenuous relationship with his daughter and son. Eva Lind has persuaded her estranged mother and father to meet and it doesn’t go well, but we learn a little more about his past, especially his short, fraught marriage to Halldor. Even if that wasn’t a success, he and Eva take steps to mend their relationship and that was particularly satisfying. He and Valgerdur are moving forward, spending more time together as she attempts to bring him out of his shell.
Naturally, Erlendur solves the mysteries no one in particular wants him to solve. Afterwards, he ruminates on the past few weeks and on something Eva Lind said to him about letting his missing brother Bergur go. So he packs his rucksack and heads back to the east, to Eskifjodur Moor where his brother was lost.