- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada; 1st Canadian Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307357813
- ISBN-13: 978-0307357816
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 173 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,528,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hypothermia Hardcover – International Edition, October 27, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. At the start of Indridason's powerful sixth Reykjavík thriller (after Arctic Chill), the body of María, a woman ravaged by guilt, is found hanging in her holiday cottage, an apparent suicide. As Erlendur, a police detective who works largely alone because he prizes solitude above all else, doggedly interviews those close to María--her husband, her relatives, her friends--in an unofficial effort to understand what might have driven her to take her own life, he unravels an ingenious and sinister plot. Complicating his investigation are the ghosts from his personal and professional past: his failed marriage and his shaky relationships with the son and daughter who grew up without him, as well as unsolved missing-persons cases he still feels morally compelled to pursue. Most scalding of all is his memory of the blizzard that he barely survived as a boy but in which his younger brother perished, the tragic event that shaped Erlendur's later life and lends mythic resonance to Indridason's remarkable novels.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* Indridason, Iceland’s most widely read novelist, once told an interviewer that “crime fiction is about so much more than just crime.” In his latest mystery, as if to prove his point, Indridason has his series hero, Reykjavik police detective Erlendur, investigate what appears to be the suicide of a young woman. There is no evidence of foul play, and there are numerous indications that the woman suffered from depression due to the death of her mother and the drowning of her father when she was a child. At the same time, Erlendur is trying to solve two cold cases, the disappearances of two young people three decades earlier. For Erlendur, all three investigations resonate like Proust’s madaleines, compelling him to continue. Hypothermia is defiantly unconventional crime fiction. No shoot-outs, no car chases, no monstrous villains; only tragedies and the pain they inflict on ordinary people—like Erlendur. As he interviews a lengthy succession of people who might shed light on the suicide and the disappearances, the gloomy Icelandic cop continues to wrestle with the tragedies in his own life: his eight-year-old brother’s disappearance in a blizzard and the impact of his disastrous marriage on his children. Some crime fans might be puzzled by this novel’s dearth of action, but it is psychologically astute, beautifully told, and filled with insight into matters of life and death. --Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
It's about Reyjavik Police Inspector Erlendur Sveinnson, virtually always referred to as simply "Erlendur." He decides to dig into the events surrounding an apparent suicide-by-hanging. The authorities are quite willing to dismiss it as a suicide because that's where the evidence clearly points. But Erlendur operates on hunches and vague feelings. Or he may want to find out more about what led to a traumatic event; that was what initially propelled him here. And once he is interested he does not give up until he has the answers.
His investigation into the hanging leads right where I thought it would at about the twenty-percent mark. Although I'm not very good at solving fictional mysteries, I did see this one coming. Yet, there were enough surprise elements at the end to make it all worthwhile. And there's that poetic justice I mentioned earlier.
This novel further explores Erlendur's relationship with his troubled daughter, Eva Lind. There's a lot about ghosts and beliefs regarding the afterlife. A séance or two. Icelandic lakes are the scene of tragedy and mayhem.
In addition to the hanging, Erlendur looks into a couple of missing person cases that date back for decades. Indridason fans know exactly why Erlendur is obsessed with missing persons: this dark theme runs through his stories. I don't want to spoil it for the uninitiated.
This book begins with the apparent suicide of Maria, a woman who has been troubled for many years, starting from the accidental death of her father when she was a girl, to the lingering death of her mother two years ago. A friend finds Maria has hung herself, but she doesn't believe Maria would do such a thing; she goes to Erlendur, who decides to start poking around a bit on his own. There is not enough to justify an official investigation, but something doesn't feel right to this dour detective. The clues accumulate as Erlendur hastens slowly through this quiet but masterful mystery.
Also during this independent investigation (Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli are not around), an old man visits Erlendur. His son went missing many years ago; he is dying and wants to ask one last time if there is any news. If you've been reading these books you know that Erlendur is haunted by the death of his younger brother, when they were boys during a snow storm, and has since had a fascination with missing persons cases. The old man's visit triggers in Erlendur the yearning to find the answer to the young man's disappearance. These two story threads are woven in with Erlendur's daughter's latest request -- that he meet her mother, his ex-wife. Erlendur of course resists. He doesn't see what good that would do. And in this book we witness the further evolution -- change in incremental steps for sure -- of this difficult relationship, the man who feels guilt about leaving his children, and the girl filled with self-loathing who is angry at the desertion but still intrigued by her father.
Also, if you have been reading, you will have noticed many references to the written account of Erlendur's personal tragedy, and in this book we finally get to read the account itself. In this, maybe the most personal of the novels, we learn more about his mother and their relationship. This is a rich and deep, masterfully told story with a good translation. Subtle humor and the character's humanity shine through these wonderful books.
Do yourself a favor and read these books! In order they are: Jar City, Silence of the Grave, Voices, The Draining Lake, Arctic Chill and this book -- Hypothermia
Erlendur follows up on missing persons for decades, no matter that the cases have long since been closed and filed.
For some reason he takes the same compulsive interest in the suicide of a woman named María, who hanged herself. María, it seems, was deeply depressed by the deaths of her parents and obsessed with the afterlife. Although there's nothing suspicious about the suicide, Erlendur can't stop himself from snooping around among friends and relatives and probing the secrets of María's past.
Temperatures are dropping, but Erlendur rather likes being enveloped in the peaceful cold and darkness of an Icelandic winter. He's a bit of an iceberg himself, but with a warm core of compassion ever threatening to melt his defenses. The disruptive demands of Erlendur's private life (which are somewhat amusing) contrast beautifully with the steadily building tension of his investigations.
Icy waters play an important role in this quietly creepy story, as do dubious ghosts and visions. The plot is a masterpiece of vague suspicions and shaky speculations, leading to terrible discoveries.
I have thoroughly enjoyed every novel by Indirdason, and this one is quite perfect.