Saturday, 9 December 2017

The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indriðason


The Shadow District is the first book in a new series by the Icelandic author Arnaldur Indriðason. This book is set in Reykjavik and shifts between the present day and the Second World War when Iceland was occupied by US military forces.  A 90 year old man is found dead in his flat and it turns out that he has been murdered.  Kónrad, a retired police detective investigates the case and finds some newspaper cuttings in the murdered man's flat about the murder of a young woman in Reykjavik during the Second World War.  We then find out how this murder was investigated by an Icelandic detective Flóvent and a Canadian military police officer who can speak Icelandic.  

Although the book goes between the two time periods and there are no clues at the top of the chapters, I did not find it difficult to work out which time the chapter was describing.  Thanks to dogged police work, Kónrad finds the link between both cases, solving the cold case in the process.
I liked:-
  • Finding out more about the impact of the invasion of the US military on the small island of Iceland. Although this improved the economy there were tensions between the two communities.  Women who fraternised with the US service men were frowned upon.
  • I thought the characters were believable and well drawn.
  • The plot was clever - I like books which go between two different time periods and felt the author did this well.
  • This is a police procedural novel with a difference as Konrad is retired
  • As I am currently doing a Viking Studies course I enjoyed reading about Icelandic folklore - this theme goes through the novel.
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in the series. I can also recommend Arnaldur's earlier books featuring the detectives Erlundur and Sigurdur Óli. These usually have two stories too - a modern crime and a cold case involving a missing person.


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