BLURB: 1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…
In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinsister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.
Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.
It barely seems any time at all since we all fell in love with Snowblind, and here we are no. 4 in the Dark Iceland series. And the books just seem to get better. In this novel, the town of Siglufjördur is in quarantine after a traveller passing through from Africa died of a mystery infection, which he passed on to a nurse who was unfortunate enough to come into contact with. So with everyone holed up at home, it’s the perfect time for Ari Thór to investigate a cold case brought to him by an elderly man, Hédinn. It concerns the death of his aunt 50 years earlier, who was said to have accidentally poisoned herself by putting rat poison in her coffee instead of sugar – or did she? Perhaps the decision was made to label it as such to save the family from the stigma suicide carried. Or is there more to the story than that? Could someone else have been responsible? He produces a photograph which had just come to light showing a teenage boy with the two couples, and himself as a baby, outside the very remote farmhouse at Hedinsfjördur, despite the fact it was only meant to be his parents and aunt and uncle living there. Ari Thór uses his spare time to talk to people who might remember the incident; a surprising number are fortunately still alive!
There’s also a story from Reykjavik brought into the book, featuring Ísrún, an ambitious news reporter. She’s investigating both the fatal hit-and-run of the son of an ex-government Minister, and the abduction of a small child. She’s suspicious there’s a link between the two – which could involve people high up in government. But what could possibly connect them? Is she simply seeing conspiracies where they don’t exist? She also contacts Ari Thór for an interview regarding the quarantine, and he persuades her to help him out with questioning a relative of one of the people in the picture, who’s in a care home in Reykjavik. But will Ari Thór be able to throw any light on such an old mystery, with so few clues?
As ever, this book is ably translated by Quentin Bates, whose own books are hugely enjoyable – seek them out if you haven’t already. Ragnar seems to be more confident than ever blending different storylines, while maintaining his always concise prose. I particularly enjoyed Ari Thór’s attempts to unpick a mysterious case in a isolated and somewhat creepy spot – the sort of place so isolated that it could start to cause one’s mind to unravel…
Very highly recommended.
My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.