Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
Title: Last Rituals
Author: Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
Translated from the Icelandic: Bernard Scudder
ISBN: 9780061143373, Harper, 2009
Genre: Amateur Sleuth
First Line: The head caretaker, Tryggvi, stood by the coffeemaker.
Lawyer and single mother Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is contacted by Matthew Reich, an ex-German police officer, for help. A wealthy German family's son has been studying at university in Reykjavík, Iceland. His body was found with his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest. His family doesn't believe that the Reykjavík police have the right man in custody. Since Thóra's law practice is struggling, she needs the money and agrees to conduct her own investigation.
It quickly comes to light that the murdered student was studying Iceland's history of torture, execution and witch hunts, and the more that Thóra and Reich investigate, the more likely it seems that his studies played a part in his murder.
I was greatly anticipating this book. One of the reasons why I love reading mysteries set in other countries is because I'm an armchair traveler. I love learning about other countries, and a feeling of place can add so much to a story. Sadly, there was very little sense of place in Last Rituals, and the plot didn't have much that was new either.
What I did enjoy a great deal was the character of Thóra, her dual careers of lawyer and mother, her dedication to both, her stubbornness, and her sense of humor that would flash unexpectedly and make me laugh. If not for Thóra, I doubt very much that I would read the next book in the series. Thóra sparkled to such a degree that I know I will be reading more about her in future.
[Source: Purchased from Amazon.]