A lawyer accepts a job investigating the gruesome murder of a German student who has been studying in Iceland when the students’ parents conclude the police did a slapdash job and have probably arrested the wrong man. The student was deeply interested in witchcraft and witch trials and has collected a group of students around him who have similar interests.
Though there are to date only two Icelandic mystery writers whose works have been translated into English, they could hardly be more different, at least among Scandinavian crime writers. Yrsa’s book is lighthearted, traditional in structure and cozy in tone, with lots of family background and even a bit of romance thrown in. In spite of some gruesomeness in the murder that opens the story, on the whole it’s an amiable entertainment, and fun to read, with some nice landscape included, but it doesn’t have the narrative complexity or the depth that Arnaldur Indridason’s books have. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.