As with Indridason, Jónasson works on two levels. One old story that never got an ending and one contemporary murder mystery to solve. I think this is what I really love with these two authors. Their ability to totally engage the reader in an interesting, old story, which most of the time has a very tragic course. I find that these cold cases sometimes are more interesting than the contemporary story, but in the end they do complement each other.
"1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedingsfjördur. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all..."That is the background story, and possible crime, that policeman Ari Thór is asked to investigate by the son of one of the couples. Thór becomes intrigued by the story and works on it when he has time. He is on duty in a city in the north of Iceland who has been put into quarantine due to an unfortunate death, caused by a dangerous virus. Nobody is out and about and there is not that much to do. A perfect time to look into something that can take away the dreary thoughts of the present time.
The contemporary mystery is told by journalist Ísrún who is covering a mysterious kidnapping of a small child. She is also reporting about the quarantine and gets in touch with Thór to get an interview. He in his turn asks her help in his ongoing investigation of the cold case.
Parallell we meet people involved in the present crime. Even so, the information you get is hidden in the dark and provides a scary and mysterious background to the events. It has repercussions high up in political circles in Iceland and it is only at the very end that you know what really happened.
It is a book which you can hardly put down. The stories engage you, as well as the characters. Maybe because I have just been on Iceland, I enjoyed it even more. I have seen the isolated countryside and fjords and I could really imagine the characters and how they felt. The unsolved old murder was quite a surprise as far as the culprit is concerned. I had my own ideas along the way, and maybe as the story evolved I at least headed in the right direction. Very exciting read.