Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriðason

I’ve noticed that when it comes to mysteries, I am all about location, the more exotic the better. In the past year or so I’ve read mysteries that take place in India, Norway, the Shetland Islands, China, Ireland, Italy, and Saudi Arabia. And now with this most recent book, Iceland. Though I’ve been to Iceland before (in real life, too!), as this is the fifth book I’ve read about Reykjavik detective Erlandur. Like Arnaldur's earlier books, this is one dark and laconic. He doesn’t waste words or emotions and neither does Erlandur as he slowly and doggedly tries to get to the bottom of an apparent suicide that just doesn’t seem right to him.

Several scenes in this book are set at the Thingvellir National Park, one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been in my life, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates come together to form a rift valley. You can walk on the valley floor between the two plates, North America on your left side, Europe on your right. It’s also a Unesco World Heritage site, the original site of the Althing, the world’s oldest parliament, established in 930 CE. Of course none of this matters to Erlandur, who just spends a lot of time wondering how long it would take for someone to freeze to death in the icy waters of Lake Thingvallavatn (answer: not very long).

Above is a picture I took of the trail through the rift valley at Thingvellir. You can see more (and better) photos of this place on Flickr or by doing an image search in Google.

(Book 58, 2010)



The mystery sounds good but the info about the tectonic plates is fascinating. I think you may be the only person I know who has been to Iceland. Looks gorgeous — and hey, no ice!

Post a Comment