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Strange Shores: An Inspector Erlendur Novel    by Arnaldur Indridason order for
Strange Shores
by Arnaldur Indridason
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2014 (2014)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Strange Shores is the ninth in Arnaldur Indridason's Icelandic mystery series starring the complex, committed, highly intuitive and rather gloomy Reykjavik policeman, Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson. Middle-aged, he has poor relationships with his children and a dark personal history. Having lost his younger brother Beggi in a blizzard when they were young, he obsessively reads accounts of similar tragedies.

Erlendur has been missing in action (last seen on his way to the East Fjords) through both previous books in this series (Outrage and Black Skies), his colleagues Elinborg Sigurdur Oli taking their turns on center stage. So, fans have been waiting for some time to find out what happened to the series lead. Strange Shores, a particularly atmospheric episode, tells all.

Erlendur has been camping in his old home, a ruined croft at Bakkasel, the weather steadily worsening. Through encounters with locals he learns more about his brother's disappearance, as well as that of a woman (Matthildur) 'who set out to cross the Hraevarskord Pass and never came back.' He becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Matthildur.

He interviews Matthildur's sisters (now elderly) and learns of the later death of her husband Jakob, whom she was rumored to have haunted. Erlendur is fascinated by 'the fate of all those left behind when their loved ones depart this life without warning', as his younger brother did. He discovers what really happened to Jakob, a horrific ending, and he finds a child's bones.

Finally there's closure for Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson in Strange Shores, which looks like the ending of the series as well. Nevertheless, I hope that there will be more Arnaldur Indridason mysteries ahead for his myriad of fans.

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