On the eve of her unwillingly abrupt retirement, a Reykjavík police inspector decides to look into a cold case that immediately turns dangerously hot.
Hulda Hermannsdóttir thought she’d seen the writing on the wall: When she turned 65 in a few months, she’d put in for retirement even though the deaths of both her daughter and her husband have left her nothing to look forward to. But she’s thrown for a loop when Magnús, her boss, tells her that he’s already assigned her office and caseload to a much younger, up-and-coming male colleague, and could she please clean out her desk within the next two weeks? To mollify her, he offers to let her spend her final days looking into a cold case of her choice—“Any case I like?” she politely asks—and she promptly reopens the investigation into the death of Elena, a Russian immigrant who’d applied for political asylum. Hulda is convinced that her sloppy CID colleague Alexander had bobbled the case, and her initial inquiries suggest that since Elena’s petition for asylum had just been granted, she had no reason to leave the hostel where she was staying and drown herself. When Bjartur Hartmannsson, an interpreter who’d worked with the musically inclined Elena, suggests that her interests may have extended to prostitution as well, Hulda kicks into high gear, much to the disapproval of Magnús, whose desire to pull Hulda off the investigation and put her in the deep freeze intensifies with every meeting and phone call. All the while, a series of ominous flashbacks indicates that Hulda’s stumbled onto a secret even more wicked than she’d predicted—although, as events ultimately show, she’s had years of experience in close contact with wickedness.
If you think you know how frigid Iceland can be, this blistering stand-alone from Jónasson (Blackout, 2016, etc.) has news for you: It’s much, much colder than you’ve ever imagined. Warmly recommended for hot summer nights.