Arnaldur Indridason’s most recent novel available in English, STRANGE SHORES, is the most thoughtful, subtle and sympathetic portrait of Reykjavik Police Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson I have read. The author shines an intimate searching light on the seasoned, somewhat curmudgeon, Erlendur, and a tragedy in his past that “convinced [him] there and then that he would never be a happy man.” On vacation in the village of his childhood, situated in a remote part of the eastern region of Iceland, Erlendur cannot escape the long lost or suppressed memories of two disappearances that of his young brother in one of the sudden vicious storms and of a young woman in another.
Leighton Gage, who spent a great deal of his time in Brazil, used his extensive knowledge of the country’s political, economic, and social climate to create an outstanding series of police procedurals. His latest, The Ways of Evil Men, published posthumously, opens with a heartbreaking scene. Anati, a member of the Awana tribe who live in the rainforest, goes hunting with his eight-year-old son, Raoni. When the two return to their village they discover that all thirty-nine members of their tribe are dead. Who killed these men, women, and children? Jade Calmon, an employee of the federal government’s National Indian Foundation, will not stop asking questions until she learns the truth. Since the local law enforcement authorities have no love for the Awana, Jade is forced to pull strings in order to bring in the big guns: Mario Silva, Chief Inspector of the Brazilian Federal Police, Arnaldo Nunes, Silva’s partner, and a support team that includes other agents and an assistant medical examiner.
Each chapter heading in Martin Cruz Smith’s brilliant novel, Tatiana, is printed on a slant, providing fair warning that not everything in this story is “on the level.” The author manipulates us by withholding facts and feeding us misinformation. Why does Smith lead us astray? He may be informing the uninitiated that his hero, Arkady Kyrilovich Renko, Senior Investigator for Very Important Cases, lives in a society that is off-kilter, warped, and perverse. To survive in today’s Russia, Renko, and others like him, must always be on their guard. Arkady’s cynical colleague, Detective Sergeant Victor Orlov, is tired of wasting his time trying to get the goods on influential miscreants. He insists, “The point is, you can’t win. We’re just playing it out.” He would rather spend his days passed out in his apartment after drinking himself into a stupor.
I first read this 1997 novel (the sixth in Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander series) in 2004, and saw the television adaptation starring Kenneth Branagh last year. So the general outline was familiar; I even knew who the murderer was going to be. All the same, I read the book this time with just as much enjoyment as on the first occasion, and with even more appreciation of detail of its texture.
In Leonard Rosen’s superb mystery, ALL CRY CHAOS, Henri PoincarÃ©, fifty-seven, is a veteran Interpol agent who believes that it is “better to let one criminal go free than to abuse the law and jeopardize the rights of many.”
November 3, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Foreign Detective, Interpol, Mathmatician, Permanent Press, Philosophical, Sciences Â· Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Debut Novel, Sleuths Series, World Lit
The brilliant and prolific Ruth Rendell continues to entertain us with her latest Inspector Wexford novel, The Vault. Although he is retired and has no official standing, Wexford, the former Chief Inspector of Kingsmarkham, is delighted when Detective Superintendent Thomas Ede asks for his advice concerning a puzzling case. The scene of the crime(s) is a two-hundred year old house in London, Orcadia Cottage. The current residents are Martin and Anne Rokeby, who bought the property for one and a half million pounds. One day, Martin decides to lift a manhole cover in the “paved yard at the back of the house,” curious to know what, if anything, is down there. Little does he realize that this deed would end up “wrecking his life for a long time to come.”
September 25, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Foreign Detective, London, Murder Mystery, Ruth Rendell Â· Posted in: Character Driven, Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author