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The Draining Lake

by Arnaldur Indridason


This is the fourth book in the Detective Erlendur series and I can honestly say that the book was just as compelling as the previous three, although it did take a little more getting into.

Erlendur, as in the other stories, is a man who becomes obsessed with missing person cases. When a skeleton is found half-buried in a dried out lake, weighed down by a Russian transmitter from the time of The Cold War, the police are called into investigate. The slow part of the story is all of the Cold War stuff that didn’t really grip me. However, when in the course of the investigation of missing persons from that period, Erlendur falls upon the story of a man, a saleman, who just left his love waiting for him and disappeared, he becomes obsessed with tracking him down and proving whether or not he is the man in the lake.

The story takes us back to Leipzig in the 1950/60s and the group of Icelandic students who studied at the university. We live their lives while Erlendur is not only trying to get information from various embassies to see if the skeleton could be a missing spy, but also trying to track down the missing salesman. Gradually threads and trails slowly begin to emerge.

I like these three detectives. Erlendur with his estranged children who is trying to decide what to do about the woman who has made an appearance in his life. Elinborg who has just gained a little bit of fame by publishing a cookery book and Sigurdur Oli who keeps his own personal life very private and has his own battles to face. This is a series that is really growing on me.