Freezing to death in Norway.
Back in Hawaii, where she lives and works, anthropologist Dinah Pelerin buys a stylish pea jacket with chichi red buttons to keep her comfy when she accompanies Senator Norris Frye on a diplomatic mission to a tiny settlement within shouting distance of the North Pole. They plan to deposit hapai banana shoots in the Svalbard Seed Vault, which would ensure the preservation of sustenance should the planet come under attack from disease, warriors or aliens. Joining them on their jaunt to the permafrost are Senator Colt Sheridan and his Norwegian-born wife, Erika; Senator Whitney Keyes; various flunkies and gofers; and Jake Mahler, CEO of Tillcorp, a generous contributor to Sheridan’s presidential campaign bid, who travels with personal bodyguards and his attorney, Valerie Ives. The Minister of Agriculture who greets them at the far-north airport is maimed by a laser; a protestor who rants about gene modification is silenced with a carving knife in a back alley. Dinah, borrowing a warmer coat from Erika, is shot at, perhaps by mistake, perhaps for snooping too diligently into her traveling companions’ pasts, which include alcoholism, hallucinations, an unacknowledged birth and an African famine someone inflicted on Myzandia by tinkering with genes. When Valerie is killed in a sauna, DI Thor Ramberg, trying to solve his first cases of homicide, seems baffled. Everybody’s freezing except for Erika, who steps out for a brisk walk and disappears. Despite a kiss hot enough to thaw the permafrost, the detective suspects Dinah of skullduggery, but she warms his heart by solving the mystery.
A tepid case that heats up only when Matthews (Bet Your Bones, 2011, etc.) delves into Norse myths.