Synopses & Reviews
Inspector Erlendur returns in this CWA Duncan-Lawrie Dagger Award-winning series, which has sold over five million copies worldwide
Following an earthquake, the water level of an Icelandic lake suddenly falls, revealing a skeleton. Inspector Erlendur's investigation takes him back to the Cold War era, when bright, left-wing students in Iceland were sent to study in the "heavenly state" of Communist East Germany. Teaming with spies and informants, though, their "heavenly state" becomes a nightmare of betrayal and murder. Brilliantly weaving international espionage and a chilling cold case investigation, The Draining Lake is Arnaldur Indridason at his best.
"[A] remarkable series."--The New York Times Book Review
"Indridason keeps readers guessing . . . until the very last pages of this moody investigation."--The Washington Post Book World
"The missing-persons theme and the exploration of Icelandic history and society remain the trademarks of this outstanding series; this time the addition of international espionage will remind readers of Henning Mankell in The White Lioness and The Dogs of Riga."--Booklist
"This is exceptional fiction that transcends its genre."--Library Journal
"An undiluted pleasure . . . This series places Indridason at the center of the best of contemporary crime fiction. He is a master storyteller and has a real gift for evoking the complex humanity at the heart of the most dour-seeming individuals."--The Guardian (UK)
"A book as subtle and moving as it is suspenseful."--The Wall Street Journal
Inspector Erlendur returns in this international Bestseller
Following an earthquake, the water level of an Icelandic lake suddenly falls, revealing a skeleton. Inspector Erlendur's investigation takes him back to the Cold War era, when bright, left-wing students in Iceland were sent to study in the "heavenly state" of Communist East Germany. Teeming with spies and informants, though, their "heavenly state" becomes a nightmare of betrayal and murder. Brilliantly weaving international espionage and a chilling cold case investigation, The Draining Lake is Arnaldur Indridason at his best.
In this new extraordinary mystery from Gold Dagger Award-winner Indridason, the water level of an Icelandic lake falls suddenly, revealing a skeleton weighed down by a heavy device bearing Russian inscriptions. The investigation leads back to Iceland, international espionage, and murder.
About the Author
won the Glass Key award for Best Nordic Crime Novel for both Jar City
and Silence of the Grave
. He lives in Reykjavík.
Reading Group Guide
1. How do Erlendur, Sigudur Oli, and Elinbourg piece together the clues that they found with the skeleton? What if they werent able to determine any information about the skeleton itself? Do you think they could have solved the case on the basis of the Russian listening device alone?
2. Erlendur continues to be haunted by the ghosts of his past, as his dead brother, his daughter Eva Lind, and his son Sindri force him to confront his painful memories. Does Erlendurs job as a detective who is obsessed with missing persons help him to come to terms with his past? Or is he merely torturing himself?
3. What kind of a place was Iceland during the Cold War? How might the Cold War have been different in Iceland than it was in Europe or the United States?
4. Which foreign embassies are most helpful to the investigation? Why were some embassies eager to help, while others were uncooperative? Was it just bureaucracy, or did certain embassies have a vested interest in how the case proceeded?
5. Was Tomas naive in his idealism for Soviet communism? Would he have been able to see the system for what it was without Illonas help, or would he have remained a hardliner?
6. Erlendur has had enough of Eva Linds drug addiction, and he was beginning to become indifferent to her struggles. But what his son Sindri told him about their childhood makes him feel differently. What did Sindri tell him? Why do you think Eva Lind and Sindri had such different feelings about their father?
7. Erlendurs old boss, Marion Briem continues to be on the scene, despite his illnesses. Why is Erlendurso drawn to Marion even though he cant say he actually likes him? Does he pity him because hes afraid hell end up like Marion? How did Marions tips further the investigation?
8. Erlendur was frustrated with Niels, the man who initially led the case to find the missing salesman back in the seventies. He thought Niels was lazy and indifferent. What makes Erlendur a better detective than Niels? How does Erlendurs ability to identify with the victims give him an edge over Niels?
9. Indridason carefully weaves contemporary and historic storylines, alternating between them. Discuss some of the clever ways in which the author tells the story and releases information to the reader, and how this heightens the suspense.
10. The woman Asta, who was still waiting after all these years for her Leopold to come home, knew nothing about his true identity. Why was she unable to move on and to start a new life without him? Was he just using Asta for a cover, or do you think he really loved her?
11. When Tomas finds out that Lothar is in Reykjavik, he trails him and finds Emil, who provokes him to a blind rage. If you were in Tomas place, what would you have done when you first saw Lothar? Who would you blame more, Emil or Lothar?
12. Do you think that Erlendur had any sympathy for Tomas? What did the two have in common? How were they different? Is Erlendur capable of forming intimate attachments with other people outside of his cases?
13. Why does the hydrologist who found the body in the beginning reappear in the end? Do you think the man she was with was the same man whom she wanted to avoid in the beginning? If so, why do you think she ended up with him?
14. Emils denunciation of Ilona eventually led to her death and ruined many lives. But what he did was perfectly in keeping with the law in East Germany at the time. Emil would not have been held accountable for his actions in any court of law. Did Emil deserve what happened to him? Was Tomas justified in killing him? Could there have been any other way that Emil might have been punished for what he had done? Was he capable of feeling remorse for his actions?