A lonely old man named Holberg is found murdered in his apartment. When Reyjavik Polic Inspector Erlendur looks into the crime, he discovers the victim had been accused of rape thirty years ago but never convicted. Erlendur tracks down very old clues to try to solve Holberg's murder.
I really enjoyed the characters and the Iceland setting. Looking forward to reading more books from this author.
This was one of the best and most interesting books I've read in a long time. Knowing nothing about Iceland, I found the descriptions of the climate, the countryside, the rain all very interesting. The story is well plotted but very dark...don't expect to feel good about anything that happens. It is definitely a good read.
Icelandic police procedural featuring detective named Erlandur--that's his first name, since most Icelanders go only by their first names, even in the phone book, apparently! An elderly man is found bludgeoned to death in his basement flat and that begins to unravel a whole parcel of strange facts that set Erlandur off on several different tangents. Apparently his detective's nose is accurate though because his instincts prove right. A sad, heartbreaking tale set in a very interesting backdrop of Iceland, which I know next to nothing about. Excellently written, difficult to put down, with a new character to love. I felt that Erlandur was very well fleshed out, but I hope the author plumps up his co-workers and his family members more next time around. Looking for the next one!
The first book, in a series which takes place in Iceland, was terrific and a great opener for the books that follow. I rediscovered my interest in Scandinavian crime fiction after following a thread on Amazon for a few weeks. I remember reading Sjowall and Wahloo in the 70s and this was a wonderful reintroduction to the genre. Terrific characters, setting and translation. I highly recommend.
Deborah G. reviewed Jar City (aka Tainted Blood) (Reykjavik, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
Currently reading and thoroughly mesmerized by this book ! Am now an addicted Indridason reader ( read 2 other title thus far) and his sense of place and culture, depth of character analysis and mystery on many levels makes for absorbing and thought-provoking reading.
Just when I thought there couldn't possibly be any more good Scandinavian detective writers ...
I highly recommend this Icelandic police procedural. It's well written, plotted, and paced. The characters are beautifully drawn and the local color plays an integral part in the unfolding drama. Don't ask what the title means ... all will be revealed in time.
The author's middle-aged, stressed-out, world-weary homicide detective (with personal problems just a tad better than those suffered by his customers) takes an honored place in a long line of similar protagonists. I will happily dig in to the other books in this series.
New Crimes, Old Solutions, June 19, 2013 By
Dr. Frank Stech
Arnaldur Indridason, author of the Reykjavik Murder Mysteries, began the series with "Jar City" (also published as "Tainted Blood"). I read this novel after having read Indridason's "Artic Chill," the fifth of the series. His characters appear to evolve hardly at all. Indridason's main protagonist is Inspector Ehrlendur, who shares enough character flaws to be Martin Beck's fraternal twin and Kurt Wallandar's cousin: badly failed marriage, alcohol and/or tobacco addictions, troubled offspring wrestling with their own criminal and drug issues, bi-polar relationships with murder squad colleagues, borderline insubordination with police authorities -- you get the picture.
Like the Martin Beck, Kurt Wallander, and other ScandiNoir police procedural mystery series, Indridason's supporting cast (Detectives Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli) is colorful, but not nearly as entertaining and frustrating as Wallander's or Beck's fellow cops. (But then who could be as interesting as Gunwald Larrson?) Icelanders probably just aren't as jolly and carefree as those happy-go-lucky Swedes.
Inspector Ehrlendur has a 70 year old murder victim with an unsavory history of forty-year-old crimes, including rape. Titling the book "Tainted Blood" dumb-downs the suspense significantly; "Jar City" was a far better and far more artistic title.
No TV CSI magic here, no Sherlock geniuses, just gritty murder investigation. Ehrlendur and his crew do their detecting with good old-fashioned police procedures: shoe-leather interviews, victim analyses, crime scene forensics, developing leads and following up, repeating this over and over until they form cloudy hypotheses, then investigating still more to crystallize them.
Set all this police work against the foul, gloomy, cold, dark, wet Iceland background, and you can feel icy rain running down the back of your collar as the Reykjavik murder cops link new and old deaths and crimes. Cold cases indeed.
Indridason has a real knack for letting us slowly piece together the edges and corners of the jigsaw, sometimes ahead of, sometimes behind, Inspector Ehrlendur and his crew. But we are hardly ever ready for the dark philosophical paradoxes at the center of the puzzle. This talented mystery writer digs up these deep conundrums along with the corpses, then lays out these parables on the pathology table. Indridason forces us to examine and dissect, trying to understand the human conditions that lead to and stem from tainted blood and foul murder.
Fantastic book! This is the first book I've read from this author and will be reading the rest of the series. Erlendur, the main character, is great. A laid back, but always in motion Detective. A great 'who dunit' with twists and turns in the investigation that will have you not wanting to put it down. Be prepared to loose sleep!
An old man is found murdered in his flat, with the picture of a child's grave and a cryptic message. Inspector Erlendur uncovers that many years ago he raped a woman and fathered her child who died at an early age. The mother killed herself a few years later because of the grief of losing her daughter. So who else could have had a motive? Were there other women who finally took their revenge? Or was it one of the old man's buddies, who were just as bad as he was?
This is a very good who-done-it? The locale is Iceland, and the solution to the crime lies there.