Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Jar City

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jar City (2000/2004) Arnaldur Indridason translated by Bernard Scudder

Inspector Erlendur works for the Reykjavík police, and he and his colleagues are called to an apartment where and old man was murdered.

The elder son, 9 years old, was not as cautious as his father and quick as a flash he was in the neighbour’s sitting room. A moment later the child came back and said there was a dead man in the flat, and he really didn’t seem too perturbed by it.

A cryptic message left on the body confuses far more than it clarifies, so they start looking into the man’s past for clues.

“Do you know what comes into my mind when I think about that suicide? It’s not the blood in the bath. Not my sister lying in the red water. Not the cuts. It’s Kolbrún in the shop, buying the razor blades. Handing over the money for the razor blades. Counting out the coins.”

Erlendur is a very difficult man, although one who is good at his job. He is hard to like, being brusque and rude, and he has a terrible relationship with his children, the older of whom is a drug addict, and the younger (who is out of rehab) barely speaks to him.

“That’s a nasty nosebleed,” Erlendur said and examined Sigurdur Óli’s nose. “Nothing else though, nothing serious. There are no cuts and your nose isn’t broken.” He pinched it tight and Sigurdur Óli let out a shriek of pain.

“Oh, maybe it is broken, I’m no doctor,” Erlendur said.

But yet, there is something.

Erlendur turned around and walked away, wondering how God, if he existed, could possibly justify allowing someone like Rúnar live to an old age but taking the life of an innocent 4-year-old girl.

And as the books go on you learn more baout Erlendur’s past, about how he came to be as he is.

As far as the mystery, it’s a rather fascinating story, going into the how crimes against women were treated in the past, of a Jar City, and genetics. (Iceland has a fascinating database that tracks genetic traits for the entire nation.)

“A crow starves sitting,” she said eventually.

“But finds flying,” Erlendur completed the proverb.

Interesting terms:
rising damp
scent card

It’s a very interesting mystery, and I highly recommend this series.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Minotaur Books


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