House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson

Title: House of Evidence
Author: Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson
genre: Crime
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Set in Reykjavik in 1973, police are called to the scene of a murder. Jacob Kieler Junior has been found shot dead with no signs of a break-in and no motive – at least initially. The added twist is that Jacob Kieler Senior was also murdered, shot almost 30 years previously with the same gun. Although police had a suspect at the time, no one was ever charged and the suspect is long dead. His son is not, however, and becomes a prime suspect.

This book was published in Iceland in 1998 and in the UK (as a translation) in 2012 so it’s been out a while. I bought it because it was a Kindle 99p deal and it had good reviews, although it’s ended up sitting in my to read list for quite a while. I enjoy a good Scandinavian crime novel so though I would give an Icelandic one a go.

I found it an easy read but have to admit I didn’t enjoy it that much. I found it formulaic – as many crime novels are – and the characters weren’t interesting enough to make up for it. There is a female detective who I felt could have been stronger (I imagine that being a female detective in the 1970’s was probably tough going and she would have had to fight a lot more battles to be respected than she does in this book) and a forensic scientist who doesn’t seem to do much after the first few chapters, even though he is introduced as a primary character. The twist at the end was an interesting idea if a bit far fetched but it seemed to come out of nowhere so I felt a bit cheated.

That said, it was well written, with some really nice turns of phrase and descriptive passages. I also learnt a little bit about Iceland – I knew nothing before this book other than friends went there for a long weekend and loved it so much they stayed a week. Now, doing a bit more reading about the country is on my to-do list. More books by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson are, unfortunately, not.

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