The Icelandic Yrsa Sigurðardottir is perhaps not as well known as her colleague Arnaldur Indridason, but her detective novels where she describes in passing the shadowy areas of the small nation make her one of the great voices of the whodunnit Nordic. This investigation is the fourth featuring his two heroes, the policeman Huldar and the child psychologist Freyja, who also works in the youth protection service; even if there are some references to previous titles, it is not essential to have read them.
The threads are cleverly tangled after the discovery of a man hanging on a gallows. At home, the police find a little boy who does not know how he arrived in his apartment, while nothing links the two characters. Investigators are desperate to find the parents of the child while looking for the murderer. Until the end, we will follow them on false tracks without suspecting for a moment the unexpected outcome of the case, which also serves as a pretext for the author to address the issue of violence against women.
In addition to this well-conducted plot, we are also entitled to sympathetic characters who come to instill a touch of lightness in the investigation – namely a romantic policeman who plays the seducers, a head of brigade with a foul mood and a a little overzealous young trainee who has to suffer his recriminations – and who take us out of the sometimes heavy atmosphere of the noir novel.
Yrsa Sigurðardottir (translated from Icelandic by Catherine Mercy and Véronique Mercy)