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House of Evidence by [Ingolfsson, Viktor Arnar]
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House of Evidence Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews

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Length: 399 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Readers craving the bleak atmosphere, strong sense of place, and spare delivery that often define fiction from the northern climes, such as that of Larsson and Mankell, are in for a treat with this angst-fueled Icelandic mystery. Jacob Kieler Jr. dies from a gunshot wound to the chest in the same room where his father was shot more than 30 years earlier. No killer and no weapon were found in the first death, and the same gun was used in both cases. Jóhann Pálsson and his team of variously troubled detectives learn that Jacob Sr. spent his entire life trying to build a railroad across Iceland, as he relates in his diaries, and his son’s life was focused on keeping the family home exactly as it was in his childhood. They make poor candidates for murder. As the investigation proceeds, clues are few and disparate, and there is an overall sense of approaching doom. Prepare for a zinger. --Jen Baker

About the Author

Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson is the author of several books, including Daybreak, which was the basis for the 2008 Icelandic television series Hunting Men. House of Evidence, his third novel, was nominated for the Glass Key Award, given by the Crime Writers Association of Scandinavia, in 2001, and The Flatey Enigma was nominated for the same prize in 2004.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1344 KB
  • Print Length: 399 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossing; Tra edition (December 11, 2012)
  • Publication Date: December 11, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,016 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By SLS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The generations of men in the Kieler family are unlucky in their obsessions. They're also doomed to never die of old age; one falls from a horse and breaks his neck, a 2-year old drowns on his birthday, and another dies in a car crash on a dangerous hill in Iceland. But of most interest in Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson's House of Evidence are the recent two Kieler deaths, which are curiously similar to each other.

Jacob Kieler Junior has been found shot in the same parlor as his father was shot in, and the detective and forensic teams uncover additional similarities that should cause Matthias, one of the only remaining male Kielers, great concern. Will his slowly revealed suffering save him from becoming yet another Kieler fatality? (I have to note that another Kieler offspring's fate is manipulative and a bit too hammer-on-the-head.)

Using entries from the 19 diaries of railroad engineer Jacob Kieler Senior and the "current day" investigation (which really takes place in 1973), Ingolfsson unwinds a lengthy but enthralling history of murders involving a missing gun, the struggle to build a railroad in Iceland, two world wars, debilitating depression - both economic and emotional, Jacob Junior's folly as he attempts to turn the family home into a museum, a single overturned chair, Nazism, a hippie historian, and a deluded European who almost made Iceland a monarchy instead of a republic.

It is a credit to Ingolffson's style that somehow this all comes together as hints and additional mysteries are meted out in regular intervals to hold the reader's interest. Ingolffson deftly defies a key statute of fiction writing by working a long tale in which no single character is the main character.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"House of Evidence" is the third Scandinavian mystery/police procedural by the Icelandic author Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson. It, like his previous The Flatey Enigma, was nominated for the Glass Key Award, given by the Crime Writers Association of Scandinavia. It has now been newly translated from the Icelandic into English by Bjorg Arnadottir and Andrew Cauthery. It is, like its author, located in Reykjavik, capital of that sparsely populated, extreme northern country.

The book opens at Birkihlid, stately family home of the prominent Kieler family, on a cold January morning in 1973. Jacob Kieler Junior is found dead in the parlor, having bled to death from a fatal gunshot wound in his chest. Police forensics expert Detective Johann Palsson is first at the scene. Before long, he discovers that the father of the deceased, Jacob Kieler Senior, railway engineer, was shot to death in the same living room nearly thirty years before in 1945. That killing had never been solved, but had merely been closed as a botched robbery attempt. And the two men, father and son, were killed in roughly the same place in the room.

The police soon find the elder Kieler's voluminous diaries, covering more than 35 years, and charge one of their number with reading them. The story then alternates between the earlier 20th century of Jacob Senior's diaries and the 1973 investigation. The diaries disclose that the elder Kieler was an ambitious man, driven to bring the railroad to his country. He also appears to have flirted with monarchism, as he went to Germany in the 1930s to seek an aristocrat willing to be king of Iceland.
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This book is interesting, surprisingly so given that the characters are only moderately likeable and the plot moves between the careful investigation of the current 1970s crime and the somewhat stilted diaries of the victim's father. Some readers may lose patience with the technical details of possible railway construction in Iceland between the two world wars or with description of historical artifacts in the house (The House of Evidence)--both highly relevant to the plot, it turns out. I found investigation of the forensic evidence interesting but did find myself reading quickly over some other details, such as the diarist's description of hikes and drives through unfamiliar areas. In general, I found the gradual unfolding of the motivation behind the killing held my interest through the slower parts of the book. Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson is a civil engineer and used his background well in creating a credible scenario and the ultimate solution to the mystery. And I appreciated learning about Iceland and the interaction of Iceland and its citizens with other European countries as WWI and WWII were brewing.
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By Joan on November 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the first book I have read by this author. I could sit here and list the oddities about the story, like the fact that none of the characters really seems like the main character (central figure seems to be the older dead man), but the reality is that I really enjoyed reading this book. The history, culture and characters were all interesting. I pretty much guessed what happened by about 1/2 through the book, but that didn't make it boring, you still wanted to know exactly why, how things came together what the final threads were, what the rest of the context is.

Iceland, engineers, development of railroads, World War I & especially II, mental illness/disabilities, politics, and some other topics that I won't mention to avoid sharing some final revelations all come together to create the story. Its told in a detached and factual manner like you might expect from, well, an engineer (which surprise surprise the author is).

The boy Halli in the story interests me as they never bother to identify him as autistic and yet that he is seems obvious based on his particular combination of abilities/disabilities. He gets called retarded -- does the author not know he created an autistic character? Or is this what they would have called an autistic child in 1973 in Iceland? (Or now?) Or is something lost in translation?

The book makes me want both more by the author and more set in Iceland, a part of the world we rarely hear anything about.
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