Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

The Draining Lake

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Draining Lake (2004/2007) Arnaldur Indridason translated by Bernard Scudder

The-Draining-LakeLake Kleifarvatn is draining, and no one is quite sure why, but what they do know is that as it drains, things are being uncovered. In this case, one of the scientists discovers the body of a man who obviously had been killed and his body thrown in the lake to hide it, but the draining lake exposed the crime, and now Erlendur Sveinsson and his fellow detectives are investigating a crime committed decades ago.

‘So he was sunk?’ he said.

‘He hardly did it himself,’ Sigurdur Óli blurted out. ‘He wouldn’t really go out onto the lake, tie himself to a radio transmitter, pick it up, fall over on his head and still take care to end up in the lake so he’d be sure to disappear. That would be the most ridiculous suicide in history.’

This book has two points of view—the views of the police investigators and of the murderer as he writes about, and reflects upon the past, and what led to the crime.

This is, of course, a police mystery.

Forensics technicians wearing white overalls were hurrying across the sand in his direction. They were carrying a tent and bags full of mysteries.

But it’s also much more.

Erlendur continues to watch his daughter, Eva Lind, spiral downward. It seemed as if she couldn’t sink any lower, yet, she manages to do so.

That part is terribly depressing. It also serves to alienate you (or me, at least) from Erlendur, because I absolutely cannot comprehend his relationship with his children. Not at all.

And then he comes back with a perfect comment, and I want to forgive him again.

Nifty book that girl’s written,’ he added. ‘I was just looking at it. Good photos.’
‘I think the girl’s in her forties,’ Erlendur said. ‘And yes, it’s a really good book.’

But most fascinating about this story is the look at Iceland during the Cold War–especially watching the young Socialists realize what is being done in the name of Socialism. Fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

As well as the part that Iceland played, which is something I had never considered before.

He said he had succumbed to temptation when he was offered money to inform American diplomats about any unusual developments at his embassy or those of the other Iron Curtain countries. He never had anything to say. Nothing ever happened in Iceland.

OK, so that part just made me laugh.

Regardless, I really enjoyed this story, both the glimpses into the past, and the mystery being uncovered in the current timeline.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Picador


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