ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



September 2020



Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indriðason

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for:
People who like a mystery that you might actually start to be able to solve, but probably won’t. Like, nothing in here was utterly shocking, but it wasn’t so telescoped that I could have written the ending myself.

In a nutshell:
CN for the book: Intimate Partner Violence, Ableism

Detective Erlendur is back. His daughter is in hospital and unconscious, while he tries to solve the mystery of some bones found near a construction site that are likely 60 or more years old. While he works things out, we get a glimpse into what may have happened, until it all comes together.

Worth quoting:
“Spring and summer were not Erlendur’s seasons. Too bright. Too frivolous. He wanted heavy, dark winters.” (Same, Erlendur. Same.)

Why I chose it:
I’m in it now. I think there are like ten books in this series? So buckle up!

So, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this author. I think he tells stories well, and he is sensitive to the seriousness of the crimes he whips up for his books. But so far, women in distress have featured heavily – the first book involved sexual assault; this one involves intimate partner violence. I’m REALLY hoping the next book does not have a woman as the main victim, but we shall see.

A child is discovered gnawing on a toy, which turns out to be a rib, from a skeleton that has been discovered. It is clearly a VERY old body, so the investigation doesn’t any level of urgency. The author solves this, however, by interspersing chapters of the investigation with vignettes from the lives of those who may have been involved in this death. It’s Iceland during WWII, where far outside of Reykjavik, the British have set up barracks. A family lives in a rented shack nearby, with a vicious husband, a scared wife, and three children. Is the skeleton one of theirs? I mean, I knew whose bones I was hoping it was …

We learn a bit more about Erlendur’s colleagues in this one. The guy is in a relationship and is a bit emotionally immature; the woman plays a bit more of a role in this one (interviewing people) and also has a moment with one interviewer that acknowledges the lack of women in her field. I get that, again, the main character is a man, and that’s what I’m here for, but it’d be cool if more of the women around him weren’t experiencing deep amounts of distress.

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