A suicide reminds a veteran inspector of previous sad cases—and of ghosts from his own past.
María, a historian, is found hanged in her country cottage by her childhood friend Karen, with whom she'd planned a getaway weekend. María's husband Baldvin, a doctor, is equally distraught by her death. Though his wife showed no signs of depression, flashbacks from her perspective tell a different story. Not only was she melancholy since the death of her beloved mother Leonóra a couple of years ago, she had an intense interest in the afterlife and was consulting with psychics. While not questioning the coroner's conclusion of suicide, grim Inspector Erlendur (Arctic Chill, 2009, etc.) is bothered by several details of the case, not least Baldvin's decision to have María cremated. For many years, an elderly man named Tryggvi has periodically visited Erlendur for news of his son, a university student who vanished one evening. In light of María's death, Erlendur feels compelled to reexamine this case and a handful of others more carefully. At length, he discovers some surprising and significant details. At the prompting of his daughter Eva Lind, clean after years of drug abuse, he agrees to a meeting with his ex-wife and offers a deeply felt account of the childhood death of his younger brother, an incident that has indelibly shadowed his life for decades.
Though series fans may miss sidekicks Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, relegated to minor roles, they'll welcome another haunting mystery from the Gold Dagger Award winner, whose work transcends genre.