Title: Last Rituals
Author: Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Number of pages: 432
Started: 31 May 2012
Finished: 8 June 2012
The head caretaker, Tryggvi, stood idly by the coffee maker. The sound of boiling water dripping through the machine was the only thing to be heard in the empty building, which housed the university’s History department. Soon the bustling cleaners would arrive, chatting and giggling, dragging their carts and vacuums out of the housekeeping room. The caretaker revelled in the silence and the aroma of brewing coffee. He had been employed by the university for over thirty years and had seen his share of changes, not the least of which was the complete turnaround in the nationality of the cleaners who worked under his supervision. When he started they had all been Icelandic and understood his every word; now his interactions with his subordinates consisted of a series of hand gestures and loudly-spoken basic orders. The women were all immigrants, and all recent arrivals from south-east Asia, except for one woman of African descent.
A young man is found brutally murdered, his eyes gouged out. A student of Icelandic history in Reykjavik, he came from a wealthy German family who do not share the police's belief that his drug dealer murdered him. Attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir is commissioned by his family to find out the truth, with the help - and hindrance - of boorish ex-policeman Matthew Reich. Their investigations into his research take them deep into a grisly world of torture and witchcraft both past and present, as they draw ever closer to a killer gripped by a dangerous obsession...
What I thought:
This is probably the only Icelandic novel that I have read. A new venture for me in the Scandinavian crime genre. It was a decent enough read, and better than some crime novels I have read of late. The plot revolved around a murder that the police believed they had already solved, but the victim’s family, who he didn’t get on with, believed otherwise. An interesting idea for a novel, but not as exciting as it could have been. This is the first in a series and I would like to try the next one and see how I get on with that.