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Last Rituals: An Icelandic Novel of Secret Symbols, Medieval Witchcraft, and Modern Murder Hardcover – October 2, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Similar in plot to Swedish author Helene Tursten's The Glass Devil, this first in a new series from Icelandic author Sigurdardottir offers little readers have not seen before. As with Tursten's novel, the spectre of demon-worship is at the heart of the mystery, after the strangled corpse of Harald Guntlieb is discovered with his eyes gouged out. Guntlieb, a German student, was attending graduate school in Iceland, examining the latter country's history of witch-hunting, an academic pursuit that may have taken on more personal overtones. His grieving parents, who had already suffered the loss of a child, enlist attorney and single mother Thóra Gudmundsdôttir to objectively assess the police case against a drug addict arrested for the murder. Aided by an attractive ex-German police officer, Gudmundsdôttir diligently tracks down the dead man's friends and colleagues, before arriving at the truth. The author gives less of a sense of her native land than other contemporary Scandinavian crime writers like Karin Fossum, and the identity of the killer will surprise few.
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About the Author
Yrsa SigurdardÓttir is an award-winning author of five children's novels and a division manager with one of Iceland's largest engineering firms. She lives with her family in Reykjavík, Iceland.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is interesting. A very wealthy German young man is going to college in Iceland. He has a special interest in the history of witches and the black arts. He is found in the history department, murdered and mutilated. His wealthy family hires a not very prosperous female Icelandic attorney to investigate the murder because they are not happy with the local police. She is aiding the family's proper and male private investigator. She is also divorced and has two children. Her teenage son is a hot mess, which is a secondary story line. The attorneys and the PI work together and eventually solve the murder. Naturally they are attracted to each other and have sex. Didn't see that coming!
The mystery is decent and the writing is basic. This did not seem any different from thousands of other crime procedurals. And we never find out why this particular attorney was chosen by the family. I was hoping for some interesting reason behind that. It may just be my mood today, but I am tired of the predictable hook-ups in some books. Is there some reason that adults cannot work together without having sexual tension and then sex? My interest in the book was flagging toward the end. The murderer was a person I had considered as a possible suspect, so no big surprise or twist there. On the plus side, the book is quick and easy to read. The Ritual is the first in a series starring the female attorney. I will not be reading any of the sequels.
This is the first book in a series and I am looking forward to the next books.In this first novel, Thora's relationships with her family and workmates are started and I am looking forward to learning more
A wealthy foreign student who came to Iceland to study witchcraft is murdered. The murder is gruesome. The police have their suspect in custody. The victim's family contacts Thora, a lawyer, to undertake a separate investigation. They feel that the suspect couldn't be the killer. As Thora gets involved, she is working with the family's chief of security.
Along with the investigation we also get to learn about Thora's personal life and witness a parallel drama that unfolds in that realm.
I would classify the genre as a police procedural but it is a very light read, written with a sense of humor, sans noir.