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Verdwijnpunt by Arnaldur Indridason
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2131354,782 (3.82)17
Member:tovaho
Title:Verdwijnpunt
Authors:Arnaldur Indridason
Other authors:Adriaan Faber
Info:Amsterdam Querido 2012
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:2012, IJsland, thriller

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Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indriðason (2010)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Excellent! ( )
  mstruck | Oct 19, 2014 |
Reviewed for Reviewing the Evidence, reprinted here by permission.

Iceland is a small and peaceful country where murders are infrequent and the Reykjavik Instagram account is full of photos of police officers holding puppies or eating ice cream. But some years ago Arnaldur Indriðason put it on the crime fiction map when his third mystery, JAR CITY, became an international phenomenon. Since then, his novels featuring the dour detective Erlendur Sviensson have gained a loyal worldwide following. The protagonists of his two most recently translated novels were Erlendur's colleagues Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, who were holding the fort as their boss conducted personal business in the east. Erlendur resumes center stage in this novel as we finally discover what he has been up to.

Throughout the series, readers have learned two things about the laconic inspector: he finds modern-day Reykjavik a foreign and uncomfortable place and he is dogged by survivor's guilt because, when he was ten years old, he and his younger brother were caught in a blizzard. Erlendur barely survived, but his brother was never found. His lingering sense of guilt has shaped his character and from time to time he has returned to the rural landscape of his youth in eastern Iceland where he sleeps in the ruins of his family home and wanders the hillsides.

This time, even the east is changing. A giant aluminum smelter and a hydroelectric dam are altering the landscape and crowding the fjord with freighters. Some of the residents are pleased with the changes, but many old-timers, like a hunter who Erlendur meets early in the story, share the inspector's opinion. "He couldn't understand how on earth an unaccountable multinational, based far away in America, had been permitted to put its heavy industrial stamp on a tranquil fjord and tract of untouched wilderness here in the remote east of Iceland." The hunter, it turns out, was involved in the search for Erlendur and his brother many years ago. Now he's tracking a fox that has been worrying sheep. When he mentions that foxes conceal all manner of things in their earths, Erlendur wonders if he might find some relic of his brother, missing all these years.

Descending from the moors, he asks the hunter about a case that he'd read about, a woman who disappeared in another storm, her body never found. Erlendur's mother knew Matthildur casually, and he'd always wondered about the case. He begins to ask the elderly residents about it, people whose stories will soon be lost forever like the landscape he grew up in, and gradually he pieces together what happened to her. It's not a police investigation. It's a long-term interest in the fates of people confronting the wilderness – and the cruelty of others, which is as old as the hills.

The narrative structure of this novel is similar to other books in the series, particularly SILENCE OF THE GRAVE, in which two stories unfold. It's not clear who is involved in one of them, whether they are chronologically synced up, or how exactly the stories are related until, toward the end, the two narratives click together. In its quiet, thoughtful, and understated way, this novel explores the tragedy of unfinished stories and the fact that even when a mystery is solved, it leaves many fundamental questions unanswered.

Readers of the series will be pleased to learn that another volume in the series, a prequel set in the 1970s, has been published in Iceland. Let's hope it will be translated into English before too long.
  bfister | Oct 3, 2014 |
Inspector Erlendur is solo in this ninth series installment. The two Erlandur trademarks, his fascination with people disappearing in the Icelandic moors (primed by his brother Bergur’s disappearance during a blizzard when Bergur was 8 and Erlandur 10) and unsolved cold cases are in full force. Camping out in the dilapidated remains of his childhood home, Erlandur has unsettling dreams of Bergur’s disappearance. He is reminded by a local hunter of a young woman who, after purportedly setting off through the mountains to visit her sister in January 1942, disappeared when a blinding snow storm materialized. Erlandur’s curiosity gets the best of him and he begins questioning the woman’s few remaining relatives and long-time residents of the small town in which she resided, dredging up memories that to most of those involved are better left buried. But, Erlandur is nothing if not persistent.

Having been absent in the previous two mysteries (Outrage and Black Skies), Erlandur fans will not be disappointed with his return. His doggedness and unconventional methods are in rare form. Readers of Nordic mysteries as well as police procedurals will also find this book and series satisfying. While Erlandur veterans get more insight on Bergur’s disappearance, no knowledge of the back story is required for full enjoyment. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Aug 14, 2014 |
I remember well reading the first novel by this author, JAR CITY (aka TAINTED BLOOD), first published in English in 2004, and I've been a follower ever since.

Some reviewers are saying this is his best ever. I'm not sure I would go that far, but it is certainly memorable. Detective Elendur has been haunted all of his life by the loss of his 8 year old brother in a snow storm, when he himself was only twelve, and by the impression that he was somehow at fault. Beggi's body was never found despite an extensive search. At times Erlendur relives that time when he was waiting in the cold snow for someone to find him, and he realised that he was no longer holding Beggi's hand.

The story of the disappearance of Matthildur during a similar snow storm is one that Erlendur seems to have known all of his life. He is on holidays in the area that he grew up in, and takes the opportunity to try to find out what people remember about Matthildur's disappearance. At the time some people didn't voice their suspicions and there were some who knew the truth.

Although this is not an official police investigation Erlendur puts a lot of energy into it and eventually solves the puzzle. But can justice be done?

This is an excellent read. Indridason leads the reader through layers of investigation, so that eventually we understand for ourselves what happened to Matthildur, and Elendur is able to come to terms with his role in Beggi's disappearance.

My rating: 4.6

Elendur has actually been missing from the most recent novels in the series: BLACK SKIES and OUTRAGE, and it seems that STRANGE SHORES will actually be his final appearance - apart from the fact that REYKJAVIK NIGHTS published in 2014 is actually a prequel to the series. The first two novels in the series published in 1997 and 1998 have never been translated into English. There also appears to another novel in the Erlendur series, published in Icelandic in 2011, Einvígið, that has never made it into English. ( )
  smik | Jul 17, 2014 |
'Strange Shores' by Iceland's Arnaldur Indridason is the latest, and possibly the last, in the series featuring Detective Erlunder of the Reykjavik police. I say possibly, for the ending certainly leaves room for speculation, and I think too that that is the author's intent, so don't be surprised if like Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole you see another in the series. In this Erlunder revisits a haunting event from his past, namely the disappearance of his younger brother during a snowstorm, in an attempt to bring some closure. Erlunder survived that snowstorm and largely blames himself for his brother's disappearance. That event has served to haunt him ever since. Erlunder is absent from the previous two titles in the series (Outrage, Black Skies); it might in fact be that events here happen in parallel with the storyline of the previous title.

While his primary concern is his brother's disappearance, he finds himself investigating another disappearance, that of a young woman in somewhat similar circumstances during the war. Her disappearance during a blizzard occurred the same evening that a number of British servicemen were lost while on military manoeuvres, an unusual aspect of this storyline is that the event involving the British servicemen was in fact a real life occurrence. This investigation, while unofficial, takes him back and forth between a number of individuals still living who had associations with the woman in question. Erlunder is like a dog with a bone when it comes to solving a mystery, in particular when some doubt raises its head as to what in fact happened to her given that her body was never recovered. And dragging up the past is not to the liking of all. Meanwhile the activities of a now dead fox catcher is perhaps the only tenuous link and therefore hope for Erlunder in maybe finding his brother's remains.

Much of the story too involves Erlunder looking back on events of that fateful night where we meet really for the first time the young Erlunder and his parents, and where we get too a real sense of the tragedy that befell them and shaped the rest of their lives.

This is yet another class work from Indridason. A well constructed plot is at its core, but of equal measure is the character of Erlunder and the long time effect of his brother's disappearance on him. Indeed personal loss and its effect on people are central to the story, and you can't help but be engrossed in this well written story from start to finish. I can highly recommend it. ( )
  ebyrne41 | Mar 3, 2014 |
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Wees een briesje, mijn lied,
in het riet van de Styx
en zing, vertroostend, wiegend
hen die wachten.
Snorri Hjartarson
May my poem pass like a breeze through the sedge by the Styx, its singing bring solace, lull those to sleep who wait. Snorri Hjartason
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Koud heeft hij het niet meer.
He no longer feels cold: instead a curious heat is spreading through his veins.
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Book description
A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumours of lies, betrayal and revenge.

Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has coloured his entire life. He is looking for answers.

Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realises that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.
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A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumours of lies, betrayal and revenge. Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has coloured his entire life. He is looking for answers. Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realises that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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