Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason

A Murder mystery based in Reykjavik, Iceland, sounded interesting to me, so I picked it up from the library.

The story starts with Maria's mother's funeral and Maria's suicide two years later at her holiday home. Maria never recovered from her mother's death. She was depressed and was constantly contemplating on death and life after death. Her suicide seemed inevitable. But her friend Karen believes there is more to her suicide and urges detective Erlendur to investigate. It is the recording of Maria's seance that makes Erlendur to start an unofficial investigation. The death of Maria's father in her childhood, looms in the background. Was it an accident or murder? And was Maria involved in his death? Is this the main reason for Maria's obsession with death and afterlife? Erlendur's investigation takes him to probe the past, about experiments in after life. Indridason also explores these topics -is their life after death?

There are two narratives, one of Erlendur's investigation and the other on what led to Maria's death. We do know quite early on 'who'. But how and why are the questions? Some of it is quite chilling. Indridason plays with our fear for dark and shadows.

Erlendur is also investigating the case of disappearance of two young people thirty years ago. Erlendur seems to be at leisure to investigate these disappearances and suicide, no work pressure. He also has to come to terms with his experience and loss in a blizzard as a young boy. There is his personal story of his long estrangement with his wife and its impact on his grown up children. Will there be a friendly reunion? Will they at least forget the past and meet on friendly terms?

I found the story interesting but the ending repetitive. We already have the story of what happened to Maria side by side of Erlendur's investigation. Why was the need to sum it up again? Erlenur does seem naive in the end. A Chilling Mystery! I am planning to read other books by Arnaldur Indridason.

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