The stabbing of an immigrant child unsettles Reykjavik and its police alike.
The body of nine-year-old Elías is found on a frigid January morning in a garden not far from his school. This murder hits inspector Erlendur especially hard because, as a child, he was unable to save his younger brother from drowning while the two were out alone. Subtle racial prejudice had made the half-Thai Elías a bit of an outcast. His mother Sunee, who works in a chocolate factory, emigrated to marry the carpenter Ódinn, from whom she’s estranged, partly because of Niran, Elías’s older half-brother, whom Sunee brought over from Thailand after marrying Ódinn. Since Elías’s murder, Niran has gone missing, placing him on a long list of suspects which also includes Ódinn, racist teacher Kjartan, schoolmates who reportedly sell drugs and Andres, a tightly wound young man found in possession of child porn who blames the ruin of his life on an unnamed person whom he proceeds to stalk. Erlendur’s other case involves a long unsolved disappearance that springs to life again when he receives anonymous calls from a woman in distress whom he imagines to be the missing party. Meanwhile, Erlendur’s mentor Marion dies slowly in hospital; his daughter Eva Lind continues on the roller-coaster of drug addiction; and his relationship with crime-scene tech Valgerdur proceeds in baby steps.
A beautifully layered mystery notable for its breadth and depth. Indridason (The Draining Lake, 2008, etc.) and his hero steadily improve with age.