Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series
“American readers first met Icelandic lawyer and investigator Thóra Gudmundsdóttir in Last Rituals. In My Soul to Take, internationally acclaimed author Yrsa Sigurdardóttir plunges her intrepid heroine into even graver peril, in a riveting thriller set against the harsh landscape of Smila’s Sense of Snow territory. A darkly witty and continually surprising suspense tale that places Yrsa Sigurdardóttir firmly in the ranks of Sue Grafton, Tess Gerritsen, Faye Kellerman and other top mystery writers, My Soul to Take is ingenious Scandinavian noir on a par with the works of Henning Mankell and Arnaldur Indridason. Stieg Larsson (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) fans should also take note.
In a long-abandoned small Icelandic village, residents are trying to sell old farms. An investor sees a golden opportunity here and decides to build a new hotel on the site of two neighboring farms. But the architect in charge of the construction is found dead. Brutally raped and killed. Tortured with needles stuck in her feet. The owner of the hotel calls his lawyer for help, he wants to sue the owners of the farms he bought, claiming that the place is haunted. And as the stench of the dead whale spreads from the beach, a child cries in the distance through the fog.
Dora is a lawer who comes to help her client. Normally, she does not believe in ghosts and tries to explore the history of the place. But a few days after the first murder, a second one happens. A resident of the village is found dead, killed by an enraged horse in a barn, but with a dead fox tied to his chest.
Are the killings related?
Needles in the feet, dead fox. Is the killer someone who believes in ghosts?
The village is small, there are not many inhabitants. Is the killer one of them or is one of the guests of the existing hotel? In order to help her client, Dora sets out to find out what happened. Her amateur undercover investigation takes her back to World War II, when the Nazi movement in Iceland gained momentum. The investigation takes her deep into the family secrets of the locals. Secrets, whose revealing would mean the end of someone’s destiny.
Arriving in the small village, Dora tries to escape from her family problems. She is a divorced mother of two who is about to become a grandmother. Her sixteen-year-old son’s girlfriend is pregnant and is due to give birth soon. On top of that, her lover, a German, appears in the hotel in the village. Is there an ending of her life failures ?
Aside from everything else, what particularly disturbs her is the crying of a child that she hears sometimes. And not just her. Is there a logical explanation for the ghost mystery?
This is my first book by Yrsa Sigurdardotir, but it certainly will not be the last. Although the surnames of the characters (and the author’s) are difficult to pronounce, that did not stop me from enjoying the book. The main character, Dora, is not a classic detective, but a lawyer who in her own way assists in police investigations. There is everything in the novel, a small lost place, murder, mystery. The fog and the mysterious cry of a child only add chilliness to the mystery. And the protagonist’s private life perfectly balances the weight of the story. A novel that fits perfectly into the Scandinavian crime genre. A warm recommendation for all fans of Ragnar Jonason’s books, and for those who simply want a good mystical crime story.