- Taschenbuch: 464 Seiten
- Verlag: Hodder & Stoughton General Division (22. Juli 2010)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1444700065
- ISBN-13: 978-1444700060
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,4 x 3,2 x 23,4 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 530.827 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Ashes to Dust (Thora Gudmundsdottir) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 22. Juli 2010
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Iceland's answer to Stieg Larsson. Daily Telegraph A chilling read, enhanced by Sigurdardottir's taut plotting, realistic characters, and dry humour. -- Crime Books of the Year Metro A gripping thriller with enough mystery and horror to keep you sitting on the edge of your seat while you try to work out what happened. -- Peter Robinson Brilliantly plotted and chilling. Daily Mirror
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Author of the bestselling Thora Gudmundsdottir crime series and several stand-alone thrillers, Yrsa Sigurdardottir was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1963 and works as a civil engineer. She made her crime fiction debut in 2005 with LAST RITUALS, the first instalment in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series, and has been translated into more than 30 languages. Her work stands 'comparison with the finest contemporary crime writing anywhere in the world' according to the Times Literary Supplement. The second instalment in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series, MY SOUL TO TAKE, was shortlisted for the 2010 Shamus Award. In 2011 her stand-alone horror novel I REMEMBER YOU was awarded the Icelandic Crime Fiction Award and was nominated for The Glass Key. Her novel THE SILENCE OF THE SEA won the Petrona Award in 2015.
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I've been reading a number of Nordic mystery/thriller authors lately, but Yrsa Sigurdardottir was the first Icelandic author I've read. Indeed, she is known as 'Iceland's Crime Queen.'
Yrsa's recurring character is lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir. In Ashes to Dust, the third book in the series, Thora is employed by a former resident of Heimaey Island in The Westman Islands. This fishing village was covered by a volcanic eruption in 1973 and only now (2007) is her client's former childhood home being uncovered. The government owns the houses and contents, but Markus insists on going to the basement ahead of the archaeologists to recover a box, before he signs off on the waiver. (I found the setting fascinating and ended up reading all about the Westman Islands online)
He swears he has no idea what's in the box - a friend left it in the basement and she is the one who desperately wants it back he says. But when the archaeologists go down after him, what they discover changes the game - three bodies nicely laid out. And the box? It contains a head. Yes, a head. Thora's case has taken a completely different turn.
Thora is a wonderfully different protagonist. She is a grandmother with a young child still at home, divorced, hoping that her long distance romance will work out. She's very, very determined and undertakes to prove her client's innocence. I found this different from North American practices - the lawyer pursuing clues and the truth rather than an investigator. I loved that she took along her secretary - again another character that's a square peg in a round hole. Interspersed with Thora's investigations are chapters from other characters that we know must somehow be related to the case.
Sigurdardottir has created a winding plot that takes us down many avenues, exploring familial relationships as well as those of a small close knit village. There are no great surprises (many of the clues are plainly laid out) and some of the story seems superfluous. At times, I wanted to hurry the tellin along - it seemed it could have been done in about eighty pages less.
I did enjoy the descriptions of Iceland's culture, lifestyle and scenery. But, Ashes to Dust felt a little wooden in parts. I'm not sure if this is in the original text or a result of the translation. It was an entertaining tale, but comparisons to Steig Larsson may be a bit too ambitious.
In 2007, investors send a cleanup crew to excavate the site so it can become a tourist attraction. However, in the basement of the Magnusson home is found three relatively fresh corpses and a severed head. The Westmann Islands near retired Inspector Lieffson suspect Markus, who retained attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir to prevent the digging. The villagers offer little to repute the police assertion and the one person he claims who could vindicate him is dead. Digging for a viable alternative to her client, Thora defends Markus though she is convinced she represents a killer.
The third Thora Gudmundsdottir Icelandic legal thriller (see Last Rituals and My Soul To Take) is a great tale that uses the island nation's geography and history to anchor a fabulous present day murder mystery. The storyline is fast-paced with a deft investigation that leads to betrayal and secrets in a great setting. This series is a refreshing winner.
This is the third in the series featuring lawyer/sleuth Thora Gudmundsdottir. Although I did enjoy the first two, with some reservations, I get the impression the author is still trying to decide what she wants the series to be. The first, Last Rituals, was rather gruesome in places and found Thora working in partnership with a male German visitor to Iceland who of course becomes her love interest. In the second, My Soul to Take, the nasty element had been toned down, the male character, Matthew, was very much relegated to a supporting role, and Thora's young daughter, teenage son and his very pregnant girlfriend provided a sub-plot which was so bad it would be absurd in an American sitcom. Thankfully in this latest book that 'comic' element has almost gone, but so has Matthew who is little more than a telephone tag bit part player who might or might not be moving to Iceland. His role of sidekick is taken by Thora's secretary, who until now has been completely useless, and only kept her job as it was a condition of the terms of the lease of the office Thora rented. This fact is made plain in the earlier books but not mentioned in this one, just in case you are wondering why she would be tolerated. It looks as if Yrsa Sigurdardottir may be looking to reader reaction to determine the outcome of the, 'will they/won't they', romance element of Thora and Matthew, and who should get the nod as the sidekick.
Ashes to Dust has a great opening, and probably just pips the aforementioned, In A Dry Season, by the fact that it is based around real events in Iceland in 1973, when a volcanic eruption destroyed and buried most of an island village and caused it to be evacuated. However while the Robinson book builds up from the victim discovery, this one goes downhill faster than the lava flow central to the plot. It gets convoluted enough for the author to throw in a résumé, in the form of a review of case notes, about three quarters of the way through to remind you who everyone is and what is going on. (Just like Sam asking questions at the end of an episode of Quincy). I know it is fiction but the solution when it comes is so ludicrous it makes Murder On The Orient Express seem plausible.
If there is a fourth in the series I will read it in the hope that the author will have stopped experimenting and concentrate instead on the key elements that made her first book the best by far. For anyone considering Ashes To Dust who hasn't yet read the Peter Robinson book, I would recommend the latter as the better option.
This book is again another page turner. Yrsa has an interesting and breezy style of writing. She also layers the book, developing characters and plot by cycling through the perspectives of the different main characters. This is the device she also uses to let you believe you have figured out the plot and/or the criminal, only to pull the rug out from under you. I started this book yesterday afternoon and finished it in one sitting.
I do not want to put any spoilers in here so I will just say that I thought I was going to enjoy the book more when I finished. Nonetheless, I am eagerly awaiting her next book to be translated into English.
Alas! While the story starts in a fairly interesting fashion, it soon degenerates. The lawyer/investigator is such a disorganized ditsy woman, you wonder she ever gets anywhere. One follows various red herrings, and eventually you find out what "really" happened, and it stresses credulity, contradicting what you have been shown or told of the characters. I found the ending profoundly disappointing.