An unidentified body found in a lagoon triggers dark memories for a veteran detective.
A howling wind surrounds an enormous hangar near an Icelandic moor. A young woman, ravaged by psoriasis, is taking her customary solitary walk nearby when she sees a body floating in the water. Reykjavik Police Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson and detective Marion Briem investigate and question the skittish woman. Close to the area is a large Army base where many Americans are stationed. Cowboy boots and a leather jacket indicate that the victim might be American. Erlendur remembers a case from his early career involving a girl who disappeared close by. A call from Nanna, a distressed nursery school teacher, is the case's first solid lead. Thanks to her, the victim is identified as her missing brother, Kristvin, an air mechanic. Nanna can think of no reason why anyone would want to kill him. Even as he obsesses about the old case of the missing girl, Erlendur scolds himself for his failure to let it go. The two counterpointed cases show Erlendur's evolution from eager and emotional rookie to melancholy, world-weary chief inspector. Kristvin's American attire may be explained by his possible participation in a smuggling ring. An abandoned car and a peeping Tom figure in the unraveling of the complex crime. Meanwhile, the case of the missing girl never seems to fade.
Indridason's quiet authority and moody prose are beautifully at play in Erlendur's 11th case (Reykjavik Nights, 2015, etc.), another pitch-perfect procedural from a master.