When the gutted body of a businessman is discovered in the Icelandic embassy in Berlin, Iceland’s best detectives are sent to Germany to investigate the crime. The stab wounds and the murder weapon—an elegant hunting knife—suggest a ritualistic killing. But the only suspects present in the sleek modern office building were some of the island nation’s cultural elite, including Jón the Sun Poet and ceramics artist Lúdvík Bjarnason. The victim is someone few would miss, and investigators Birkir and Gunnar, joined by forensics expert Anna Thórdardóttir, wager they have an open-and-shut case on their hands. What they find is anything but: The crime reeks of premeditation and vengeance, and leads the team into a sordid tale of international child abuse, arson, and retribution.
Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have enjoyed all three of his detective stories very much. These stories expose you to a culture and pace of life that we are not familiar with. This is why I also enjoy Janwillen van de Wetering's Dutch detectives. The two detectives in these stores are very different from each other but very human. They are not perfect but it is great watching them piece these puzzles together until they discover who the killer is and why the murder was committed based on past events which at first seen unrelated but they manage to tie together. The translator of these books did an excellent job with them.
This was an interesting murder mystery set mostly in Iceland. I had never read this author before, but chose the book to read on my recent cruise of Iceland. For that reason, it was even more interesting because I was visiting places that were mentioned in the book that would otherwise have been Greek to me while reading it. I did not find the book an exciting, cannot wait to turn the page and see what comes next kind of book. It was interesting, though, because you are walked through the ploys of the detectives involved in trying to solve two murders, and the detectives themselves are unusual characters - not the usual hero protagonists one comes across in mysteries. I think it is worth the read.
Mysteries from the cold countries will keep showing up on my Kindle, probably, but not all of them are readable. Viktor Ingolfsson's novel Sun on Fire is slow-moving and his fictional murders are violent and bloody without being interesting. A small team of Icelandic detectives is sent to the Nordic embassy complex in Berlin to investigate the murder of an Icelandic national, but we learn more about the architecture of these buildings than we do about the team. The detectives don't seem to be friends or know anything about one another beyond their quirks -- Birkir runs, Anna smokes, Gunnar eats.
Forensic knowledge is used here in an unsophisticated way. Information is delayed in order to artificially create some tension in the novel. For example, to close out a chapter with a clue not yet revealed, the author has Anna, the forensic specialist, tell Birkir to go home and get some sleep; the slip of paper with faint, shadowy markings (the most vital clue in the novel) can...
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