Book Review: Reykjavik Nights – Arnaldur Indriðason ****

UK Publishing Date: 9 Jul 2015. 304 pages.

There has been a fashion recently for revisiting the lives of our favourite detectives at an early point in their career. Successful television adaptations of Endeavour (early Inspector Morse) and Young Montalbano have proved that there is an appetite for this type of story.

In Reykjavik Nights we meet a young Erlandur. Aged only twenty eight and fairly recently inducted into the police force as a beat policeman on the night shift, this younger man is full of ambition and curiosity. Someone who looks at Adult Education classes and considers bettering himself. A very different creature to the grumpy detective that we have come to expect from middle-aged Erlandur.

Set in the summer of 1974, around the 1100th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland, his relationship with the infamous Halldora is still in its early days. Despite courting for several years he still doesn’t know how he feels about her and their relationship.

Working a night shift that largely comprises dealing with drunks, homeless people and victims of domestic abuse he finds himself thinking about the case of a tramp that he had befriended. An alcoholic called Hannibal who had been found drowned in a small pond. As he talks to more people around the city it starts to become clear that Hannibal’s death wasn’t the accident that was previously supposed.

As always the Icelandic landscapes and culture are beautifully described and this step back into the city’s recent past is a fascinating insight into Seventies Iceland.

You can get a copy of the book here: Reykjavik Nights (Reykjavik Murder Myst/Prequel)

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