Arnaldur Indridason

The Draining Lake

""… involves the reader deeply…" "


In a lake dried out by some seismic movement a long dead body is discovered, weighed down by an old Russian radio transmitter. The Icelandic detectives, Erlendur, Elinborg and Sigurdor Oli, are called in to investigate.

The trail leads to a group of Icelandic students who studied in an East German university in the 1960s. Some of the group became disillusioned with Communism, some continued to work for the cause. Whilst investigating the death, the detectives have their own lives to pursue. Erlendur continues to struggle with his relationships with his dysfunctional children, particularly his drug dependent daughter. Elinborg is enjoying success as a writer of cookbooks, while Sigurdor Oli and his wife try to start a family. Erlendur works through the unlikely scenario of Icelandic spies in the Cold War and finally teases out the solution from the past.

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This book by the winner of the CWA Gold dagger continues with the same lyrical writing of Silence of the Grave. Erlendur is a haunted and lonely man who works through the complex and detailed clues, determined to find the solution. The atmosphere of Iceland, slightly detached from the world around, is beautifully portrayed, along with some of the fiercely independent and slightly gloomy characters who live there. The relationships between the characters are movingly described, particularly the strained interdependence of Erlendur and his daughter. The atmosphere of excitement and distrust in Communist East Germany is particularly vividly described. A very good read which involves the reader deeply in the lives and the events of the story.

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