Book Review: Silence of the Grave – Arnaldur Indridason

Silence of the Grave coverTitle: Silence of the Grave
Author: Arnaldur Indridason
ISBN: 9780312427320
Pages: 293
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Crime Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5


In Inspector Erlendur’s second outing, the detective is called to a crime scene at a construction site outside of Reykjavik, Iceland. A body was discovered while digging, one that seems to have been in the ground for over 50 years. Erlendur’s investigation into this murder takes him back to a different time, to a horrific situation of domestic abuse. The question: Is this body that of the perpetrator, well-justified revenge, or that of a victim?


Silence of the Grave is the second Inspector Erlendur mystery, set in the remoteness of Iceland. I had the treat of reading this book when I actually was in Iceland, so it was so interesting to see how Indridason brought the setting to life. He does a great job setting the atmosphere, evoking the feel of Reykjavik, so if you like to be transported while reading, this series of novels is a great choice.

The case that Erlendur takes on is both interesting and thought-provoking. It’s so nice that Indridason’s mysteries are different from the normal bloody Scandinavian crime novels; his books deal more with the history of Iceland, with a richer sense of the past and how it affects the present. That’s indeed what Erlendur faces in Silence of the Grave. The situation of domestic abuse, the story of which is told in time jumps during main plotline, is desperate and sad. Readers will be gripped by these dual storylines, wondering whose body it in the ground and hoping, somehow, that things end up well.

Erlendur must also face difficulties in his personal life in Silence of the Grave. His pregnant daughter, Eva Lind, has contacted him, and he must find her before it’s too late. She’s a drug addict, and he fears she’s fallen back into her old habits. Erlendur isn’t a very emotional man, so it’s incredibly touching to see how much he cares about his children. He hasn’t been the best father in the past, but it’s clear he wants to do better by his daughter going forward.

If you’re looking for a thought-provoking and original crime series, then Arnaldur Indridason’s novels are a great choice. The sense of history is wonderful, and Indridason is a vivid writer, bringing the remoteness and isolation of Iceland to life for the reader. There’s no need to read these books in order, so even if you haven’t read Jar City, give Silence of the Grave a try; you’re sure to enjoy this unique read.

Other books by Arnaldur Indridason:

Jar City

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