From the Bookshelf: House of Evidence

I finished reading House of Evidence this week, by Viktor Ingolfsson.


If you are a fan of BBC's Wallander with Kenneth Brannagh, you'll probably enjoy this book.  A sort of "locked room" mystery, it actually follows two parallel murders that happened in the same house, but decades apart and which appear to have no motive and no likely suspects.

Tons of red herrings and a gloomy bleak mood are trademarks of this tale, which begins with a man being found dead in his house, shot in the head.  As the police investigate, they found that this man's father was found shot to death in the same room in the house almost 30 years earlier.  That mystery was never solved.

As the story unfolds, we are given glimpses of the father's life as a young man, at school to become an engineer, through the years of World War I, his marriage, and his quest to bring a railroad to Iceland.  We are also introduced to the uncle of the younger victim, a talented violinist who has a story to tell as well.  Tiny hints about the back story unfold through excerpts from the older man's diaries.

This book doesn't have any "mission impossible" kind of action.  It actually unfolds in a very quiet, slow way - although when the final clues are unwrapped and the entire story is told, I have to admit that A) I was surprised (always a good thing with a mystery if you haven't figured it all out in the end) by the plot twists and B) given the sort of mundane details in the first three-quarters of the book, the revelation that reveals how all these stories fit together is kind of a punch to the gut.  Surprising, a little horrifying, and definitely turned a quiet evening read into a page turner for the last 50 or so pages.

Next up, I've got Woodsburner queued up.  (I actually have started this but I'm not sure I will get much of the way through it.  We'll see.)

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