Monday, 4 October 2010
The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason
DATE READ: September 2010
NOTES: Icelandic Police Detective Erlendur Sveinsson is sent to investigate a skeleton that has been found in Lake Kleifarvatn. The bones appear to have been there for many years. The skull shows a serious injury and the body has been weighted down with an obsolete Russian listening device.
Assuming that this suspicious death occurred during the Cold War Erlendur seeks out missing persons from the 1950s and 1960s. The action switches back to Leipzig in the fifties when a group of socialist Icelandic students attended university there. Erlendur becomes convinced that a Ford Falcon car abandoned at the time is a key to who the victim is and why he was murdered.
The Draining Lake was a somewhat disappointing read. Erlendur as lead detective was far from original (troubled relationships, difficult children, addictions) and the other characters were little more than ciphers. There was no tension or pace. The fact that the murder took place so long ago in a quite different world did not help. The parts of the story set in East Germany were very hackneyed and unsubtle. The dialogue was clunky and unbelievable.