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Moordkuil by Arnaldur Indridason

Moordkuil (original 2001; edition 2008)

by Arnaldur Indridason (Author), Paula Vermeyden (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,805913,878 (3.9)168
Authors:Arnaldur Indridason (Author)
Other authors:Paula Vermeyden (Translator)
Info:Signature (2008), Utrecht, Paperback, 251p.
Collections:Your library, Buy and Get 2010, Unread, Readable, Henk's ongelezen
Tags:detective, fiction

Work details

Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indriðason (2001)

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» See also 168 mentions

English (70)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (5)  Swedish (3)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All (91)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Erlunder and his team have to solve a mystery surrounding bones that were discovered in a Reykjavik housing development. They turn out to have been buried for several decades, dating from the time that British and then American troops were stationed in Iceland during WWII. Erlunder is also struggling with his emotions towards his estranged daughter, who is hospitalized in a coma after a miscarriage. I particularly enjoyed learning more about the history of Iceland during the war years. ( )
  terran | Apr 1, 2017 |
I am really enjoying this series. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Buried secrets are brought to light in "Silence of the Grave," one of the early entries in Arnaldur Indridason's successful series of Icelandic mysteries.

A skeleton is found after, shockingly, a little boy is seen teething with a human finger bone. The skeleton, discovered with one hand reaching up as if reaching from the grave, appears to have been in the ground for decades. It also gives the appearance of murder.

Digging up the body is left to archaeologists, which means that even determining the sex or approximate age of the victim takes several days, but even so Inspector Erlendur and his team begin their investigation immediately. They discover that in the area where the body was buried a young woman, made pregnant by someone other than the man she was engaged to marry, had disappeared, and an abusive man had lived with his wife and three children. Might the body belong to one of these people?

Yet Indridason writes about other buried secrets as well, those long hidden by Inspector Erlendur himself. Long estranged from his wife and two children, he receives a brief call for help from Eva Lind, his angry, pregnant and drug-addicted daughter. When he finds her, she is in a coma. The doctor suggests that in those hours spent at her hospital bedside Erlendur talk to his daughter. Perhaps she will hear him. But what can he say to a daughter he has never been able to talk to or who has never been willing to listen to anything he has to say? So the police officer, when off duty, tells Eva Lind about his life, revealing burdensome secrets he has never told anyone.

This is a powerful tale that will make you want to read others in the Reykjavik series. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 9, 2016 |
This is the second book in Indridason's Inspector Erlendur series, 11 of 14 of which have been translated into English. It's the first I've read, so I have no comment on how it fits into the series.

When human remains are found in what appears to be a grave on a construction site, the Reykjavik homicide squad, led by Inspector Erlendur, is call to investigate -- as is a team of archeologists from the National Museum and a geologist from the university. By examining the soil strata, the geologist determines the grave to be about 70 years old -- so the mystery becomes who was buried there and why.

The story of the investigation is interwoven with chapters revealing the harrowing life of a family terrorized by the father during the wartime occupation of Iceland, first by the British and then by the Americans.

The plot is more focused on character than procedures or revelations. It certainly belongs to the Scandinavian-noir genre -- a fast, but not particularly pleasant read. ( )
  janeajones | Jul 14, 2016 |
I have to say, this guy is a writer on par with Raymond Chandler, that other master of the Noir genre. The translator was no slouch, either. I wasn't left with the feeling that something was missing, although I think a glossary of Icelandic terms used in the book would have helped. However, I was able to infer what was meant by many of the terms by the context, or it became clear with further reading of the book.

The story spans a 70-year period in Iceland, from World War II to the turn of this century. The novel starts with a scene of a children's birthday party, where a baby is chewing on what looks like a white stone. An observant medical student takes notice, and upon inspection, he realizes it's actually a human rib bone. A search for the grave ensues by the birthday guests and the birthday boy's mother. The police are called, and that's how Erlendur gets involved in the case.

The story involves graphic scenes of domestic violence. While there aren't graphic depictions of physical violence against children, the verbal abuse is pretty awful. Erlendur's daughter is a drug user, so that life is depicted as well.

The writing was so good, that I was swept up in the story, even though on an emotional level, it wasn't easy reading. The plot jumps back and forth between the turn of the millennium and the American occupation of Iceland during World War II. This period of history especially interested me, because my mother spent part of World War II in Iceland, when she was prevented from returning to her native Norway by the Nazi occupation of that country. It was a fascinating period of time in Iceland's history, because they were in danger of being invaded by the Nazis and the allied troops were there to protect them. Along with the influx of soldiers, came a housing shortage, which resulted in some strange living arrangements for people, such as the family in the book.

More than that, I don't want to say, because I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone. But lovers of Scandinavian crime fiction, or "Ice Noir" as I like to call it (still hoping that term will catch on!) will enjoy this book, as will anyone who enjoys a good mystery that is well-written. ( )
  harrietbrown | Feb 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
With only two of his novels currently circulating in English translation, Arnaldur Indridason puts Iceland on the map as a major destination for enthusiasts of Nordic crime fiction.The author raises the same ghosts in SILENCE OF THE GRAVE applying his austere style to a crime of such emotional breadth and sociological complexity that it acquires the sweep and consequence of epic storytelling.

The title of Arnaldur Indridason' s new book, Silence of the Grave , gives an indication of the case that confronts the Icelandic detective Erlendur and his colleagues in the Reykjavik police: the discovery of a skeleton on the outskirts of the city. It is a fascinating mystery, which develops slowly while we learn more about the unhappy Erlendur and his relationship with his estranged family. Indridason's low-key style is far from the fast-moving thrillers that fill the best-seller lists, but he's a writer worth seeking out.


» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arnaldur Indriðasonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scudder, BernardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shutterstock.comCover imagesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He knew at once it was a human bone, when he took it from the baby who was sitting on the floor chewing it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427328, Paperback)

Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award
Inspector Erlendur returns in this gripping Icelandic thriller When a skeleton is discovered half-buried in a construction site outside of Reykjavík, Inspector Erlendur finds himself knee-deep in both a crime scene and an archeological dig. Bone by bone, the body is unearthed, and the brutalizing history of a family who lived near the building site comes to light along with it. Was the skeleton a man or a woman, a victim or a killer, and is this a simple case of murder or a long-concealed act of justice? As Erlendur tries to crack this cold case, he must also save his drug-addicted daughter from self destruction and somehow glue his hopelessly fractured family back together.
Like the chilly Nordic mysteries of Henning Mankell and Karen Fossum, Arnaldur Indridason delivers a stark police procedural full of humanity and pathos, a classic noir from a very cold place.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:46 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"In Silence of the Grave, a corpse is found on a hill outside the city, and Detective Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson and his team think the body may have been buried for some years." "While Erlendur struggles to hold together the crumbling fragments of his own family, slowly but surely he finds out the truth about another unhappy family. Few people are still alive who can tell the tale, but even secrets taken to the grave cannot remain hidden forever."--BOOK JACKE… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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