Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Author: Mari Jungstedt
Number of pages: 430
Started: 22 October 2010
Finished: 27 October 2010
From a distance only a faint light was visible. Igors Bleidelis spied it in his binoculars as the Estonian freighter passed the jetty on its way to Visby Harbour. He was standing on deck on the port side. Dusk had settled over the desolate harbour, and the glaring lights of the ferry terminal were coming on.
It’s summer on Gotland and an international group of archaeology students are excavating an ancient Viking site. The camaraderie and holiday spirits of the group are shattered when one of their number, a Dutch student called Martina, disappears. Rumours abound about a secret relationship she was having with someone on the island, but is her disappearance simply a lover’s intrigue? When the body of a horse is discovered in a local farmer’s field, other rumours begin to circulate. The horse had been decapitated and the head has vanished. As Inspector Knutas begins his investigation, echoes from Gotland’s Viking past begin to trouble his search. When Martina’s naked body is found hanging from a tree, with what look like ritualistic markings on her skin, there can be little further question. Someone is calling to the old Gods of Gotland. Martina has been killed according to the Viking ritual of the three-fold death, and the one thing the ritual points to is that more deaths will follow.
What I thought:
This was a return to some Swedish reading (in English). Having just read the Booker shortlist, when I first started this book, the language seemed simplistic and a bit basic, but once I had managed to shake off the Booker reading I warmed to it far more.
This was another tale of murder in Gotland, which I don’t think can be the best advert for the place. The book was readable, but I don’t think it was as good as the previous two books in this series. It did develop some plots that had emerged in previous books and so from that perspective was a useful read, but I think it was a book that was otherwise easily forgettable. It was an unchallenging read, which is just what I needed, but lacked the punch of many crime novels.