Synopses & Reviews
Building work in an expanding Reykjavik uncovers a shallow grave. Years before, this part of the city was all open hills, and Erlendur and his team hope this is a typical Icelandic missing person scenario; perhaps someone once lost in the snow, who has lain peacefully buried for decades. Things are never that simple.
About the Author
Arnaldur Indridason worked for many years as a journalist and critic before he began writing novels. He has published several thrillers, but it is for his Reykjavík Murder Mysteries the series featuring Erlendur and Sigurdur Óli that he is best known outside his native Iceland. He has won the Glass Key for best Nordic crime novel (both for Tainted Blood and for Silence of the Grave) and the Martin Beck Award for best crime novel translated into Swedish (for The Voice). In 2005, Silence of the Grave was awarded the coveted CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel, an accolade shared with Minette Walters, Reginald Hill, John le Carré and fellow Nordic crime writer Henning Mankell.
Reading Group Guide
1. Crime novels often seem to have a social conscience. What aspects of society (human relationships, social stigmas, lifestyle choices etc.) are explored here, and what do you think this adds to the authenticity of the novel? To what extent are we intended to condemn, and to what extent to empathise with, the ills of society addressed?
2. Domestic violence is a harrowing subject. How does Indridason's decision to play out the disturbing scenes of the past in a narrative parallel to the police investigations add force to the story?
3. How do Erlender's personal problems compliment the investigation? Think about the same thing in other detective novels.
4. Think about the atmosphere, mood and style of this and any other Nordic crime novels you have read. What draws you to this kind of book? What are you looking for when choosing to read a crime novel?
5. Think about the themes of family and childhood in the book.
6. Think about the plot device of the red herring. How do the twists and turns alter your expectations as the story progresses?