Jar City

Jar City

A Reykjavik Thriller

Book - 2010
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"A fascinating window on an unfamiliar world as well as an original and
puzzling mystery."
--Val McDermid

A man is found murdered in his Reykjavik flat. There are no obvious clues apart from a cryptic note left on the body and a photograph of a young girl's grave. Detective Erlendur is forced to use all the forensic resources available to find any leads at all. Delving into the dead man's life he discovers that forty years ago he was accused of an appalling crime. Did his past come back to haunt him? Erlendur's search leads him to Iceland's Genetic Research Centre in order to find the disturbing answers to the mystery. This prize-winning international bestseller is the first in a new series of crime novels set in Iceland.
Publisher: London : Vintage, 2010.
ISBN: 9780099541837
Branch Call Number: ARN
Characteristics: 338 p. : maps
Additional Contributors: Scudder, Bernard 1954-2007,- Translator


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May 14, 2017

My first (but not my last) from this author. Excellent is the only word for this novel. No question about it. The pace is just perfect, the humanity of the characters is very believable, and Erlendur is a knowledgeable policeman working sometime from gut feelings. He's as human as the rest of us, flaws and all. A very honest novel.

JCLHilaryS Mar 22, 2017

The first English translation in a series of Icelandic mysteries, I found Jar City to be a quirky read. When a man is found dead, bludgeoned to death by an ashtray in his own home, Detective Sigurder Óli says it must be a 'typical Icelandic murder' because it seems to be fairly straight-forward. But of course it's not because that would be a terribly boring story. With a minimum of clues, Detective Erlendur starts piecing together bits of the victim's life and crimes he committed 40 years ago. From there he begins to look at why he was killed now and not back then, and who could have killed him.

Mar 12, 2015

Crime fiction. The setting in Iceland is interesting, as is the information about Iceland's Genetic Research Centre, possible because of the country's small and contained population. Otherwise, the book is standard fare.

LMcShaneCLE Jul 19, 2014

I am a big fan of Ian Rankin's mysteries - this author follows a similar format - with the hard-boiled senior detective and younger associate - very noire :)

Dec 27, 2013

Jar City is the first of a series set in Iceland. The murder is current (2001) and may have been triggered by events 40 years earlier. Scandinavian crime novels have become popular with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Wallander series. A common theme is that historically the authorities abused their powers. Add some Kafkaesque elements and there's a winning combination.

Jun 16, 2013

This book won the Glass Key Award for best mystery by a Scandinavian author. Amazingly, the author won again the following year. I can only surmise that no other mysteries were published in those two years. This book is dense, turgid, depressing, and illogical.

Other winners of the Glass Key Award include Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson ("Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", etc), so the award is normally credible.

Jun 07, 2013

have read most of arnaldur indridason's books. this is an early book but a very good book indeed!

Jan 09, 2012

This is book #3 in the Erlandur series, though books 1 and 2 have not been translated into English. I ended up reading this book twice; I read it a second time because I hadn’t made reading notes the first time round and so I thought I hadn’t read the book yet. I liked it better the first time; the second time round the storyline seemed a bit too pat, but the characters (even the bad guys) are mostly well filled out and are given both good sides and bad sides so that we understand what is driving them and the characters are not just story fillers. One British reviewer said that the book was “engrossing” while another said it is “richly convoluted and oddly haunted”. All in all, it’s a good read, but “engrossing”? Well, sort of (I did read it in one day the second time around), but is it “richly convoluted and oddly haunted”? No, it’s good but that reviewer went way too too far unless he/she is easily satisfied and also is used to reading airport-quality stuff. Still, I have hung in there and read later books in the series.

Aug 10, 2011

Great novel. One of the best of the 'Scandinavian mystery' authors, I think.
But why can't VPL spell? The VPL catalogue displays his name as Arnaldur Indria̧son? Where does this come from?
Some English translations have his name as Arnaldur Indridason as on this cover. (I wonder how he feels about that.)

His name is really, Arnaldur Indriðason, I believe. No excuse not to spell it right in Canada where Icelandic Canadians have a proud history.

The VPL catalogue does appear to recognize all 3 of these names. But, I don't know that all readers would.

Mar 20, 2011

Very good mystery novel

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