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Ragnar Jónasson
English translations
Review Author
Björn Halldórsson

(Andköf, 2013)

In Ragnar Jónasson’s fifth book about Siglufjörður policeman Ari Þór, a young woman returns to her childhood home: the remote settlement of Kálfhamarsvík, known for its scenic lighthouse and the unique hexagonal basalt cliffs along its shore.

The few remaining residents wonder at the woman’s return, decades after the tragic demise of her mother and baby sister, who plunged to their deaths off those very cliffs when she was a child. When her body is found on those same rocks shortly after her arrival, most people assume suicide, but the autopsy unveils signs of a struggle prior to the young woman’s death. With Christmas approaching and a big drug bust underway, the nearest police precinct has its hands full. Ari’s former partner, Tómas, who has moved up in the ranks and relocated to Reykjavík, asks Ari to join him for a trip up north to take the investigation in hand. Together, they form a perfect brains-vs-guts investigative duo á la Inspector Morse and Chief Superintendent Strange and begin digging into the history of this tragic family, where the womenfolk seem strangely prone to falling off cliffs.

The isolated and picturesque setting of Kálfhamarsvík, which lies at the tip of a northern peninsula on the Greenland Sea, provides the perfect setting for a Ragnar Jónasson thriller, with Ari and Tómas doing their best to interrogate the settlement’s tight-lipped inhabitants, who are inclined to safeguard each other’s secrets against outsiders.