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Reykjavik Nights: An Inspector Erlendur Novel    by Arnaldur Indridason order for
Reykjavik Nights
by Arnaldur Indridason
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

If, like me, you're a fan of Arnaldur Indridason's Icelandic mystery series starring the complex, committed, intuitive and rather gloomy Reykjavik policeman, Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson, you were probably disappointed that it all seemed to end in the ninth episode, Strange Shores.

Well, have no fear - here's a tenth, Reykjavik Nights (translated by Victoria Cribb), a series prequel in which Sveinsson is a young (not yet dysfunction-ally married) policeman just beginning to show his knack for latching onto an oddity in his environment and turning it into a successful murder investigation.

As the story opens, Erlendur is a young policeman, dealing with drunk drivers, nightclub brawls and domestic disturbances. But what haunts him is an older case, that of Hannibal, a 'tramp who last year had been found floating' in a marshy area of abandoned workings filled with groundwater. The death by drowning of a homeless man was not given priority, but it nags at the young officer.

The man had stayed in a cellar (with the owner's permission) and had trouble with neighbors. Wondering what led Hannibal to withdraw so totally from society, Erlendur contacts his sister, interviews the neighbors, and talks to Hannibal's friend, who mentions a gold earring found in a tunnel.

That earring ends up being key to solving more than one mystery. It also brings Erlendur to the attention of the CID's Marion Briem, who offers him a job. Reykjavik Nights is a must read for series fans and a good introduction to Inspector Erlendur for those few who haven't discovered him yet.

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