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SILENCE OF THE GRAVE


By Arnaldur Indridason

St. Martin's Minotaur; Translation edition (October, 2006) $22.95
ISBN: 0312340710

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

The opening line of this book gets my vote as one of the best opening lines of all time.

"He knew at once it was a human bone, when he took it from the baby who was sitting on the floor chewing it."

SILENCE OF THE GRAVE is the second mystery featuring the troubled Icelandic police inspector Erlendur Sveinnson. The first was JAR CITY (2005).

When a human bone is discovered at a construction site near Reykjavik, Erlendur (it is the Icelandic custom to use first names) wonders if he has a murder on his hands or is there some other more innocent explanation for the bone. The case that develops leads back to World War II.

The author deftly develops several subplots involving family secrets, abuse, and a search for missing persons. It is clearly evident why the author won the prestigious CWA Golden Dagger Award.

For readers who might shy away from police procedurals, I think they may be pleasantly surprised by this author. But that is not to say that the topic is pleasant. Abuse is a very disturbing topic, yet one that seems to crowd our daily newscasts.

As I was reading SILENCE OF THE GRAVE I found myself remembering how fond I was of Inspector Morse when I first discovered Colin Dexter's books and thinking to myself, that Erlendur might just be my new favorite Inspector.

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