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Svörtuloft [BOOKS] ✭ Svörtuloft By Arnaldur Indriðason – Thomashillier.co.uk La muraille de lave à lauelle fait allusion le titre est une falaise de basalte au pied de lauelle un tourbillon violent engloutit toutes les embarcations ui s’approchent c’est aussi le surnom ui La muraille de lave à lauelle fait allusion le titre est une falaise de basalte au pied de lauelle un tourbillon violent engloutit toutes les embarcations ui s’approchent c’est aussi le surnom ui a été donné au siège social d’une grande banue à l’architecture sombre et aux pratiues discutablesLe commissaire Erlendur est parti en vacances sur les lieux de son enfance et il a disparu mais son éuipe continue à travailler Tandis ue Elinborg la fine cuisinière s’occupe d’une affaire de viol La Rivière noire Sigurdur Oli le moderne formé aux États Unis reconnaît par hasard dans la rue l’un des témoins de l’affaire de pédophilie en partie résolue dans La Voix Ce même jour un ami lui demande d’aider un couple de cadres ui pratiuant l’échangisme fait l’objet d’un chantage Troublé par ses problèmes de nouveau divorcé Sigurdur Oli va cependant aller jusu’au bout d’une histoire ui lui révèle la cupidité ui s’est emparée de la société islandaise avec l’expansion mondiale des modèles financiersCommencé comme un polar classiue La Muraille de lave tisse les trames de plusieurs affaires et entraîne le lecteur dans les tourbillons de la perte de critères moraux et de l’impudeur de l’amour de l’argent.


10 thoughts on “Svörtuloft

  1. Barbara Barbara says:

    In this tenth book in the Inspector Erldendur series a different member of the investigative team Detective Óli looks into the murder of a woman who engages in 'wife swapping' activities The book can be read as a standaloneThough nominally an Inspector Erlendur novel the detective in this book is his team member Sigurdur ÓliIn Reykjavík Iceland Detective Sigurdur Óli is approached for a favor by his friend Patrekur It seems that Patrekur's sister in law and her husband have engaged in a spot of wife swappingand are being blackmailed by another swinger couple Lina and Ebbi Patrekur asks Sigurdar Óli to pressure the blackmailers to back off and to get the incriminating photos of his relativesSigurdur Óli goes to the blackmailing couple's house at the exact moment Lina is being viciously attacked with a baseball bat and fatally injured The attacker runs past Sigurdur Óli and escapes Despite his personal involvement in the case Sigurdur Óli joins the investigative team He soon discovers that Lina and Ebbi owe a large amount of money and freuently engage in extramarital trysts Thus the detective team looks for suspects among Reykjavík's debt collectors as well as men who have received sexual favors from LinaMeanwhile Sigurdur Óli is repeatedly contacted by an elderly alcoholic tramp Andrés who has has taken an old man hostage and tied him up in a basementAndrés is incoherent however and can't make Sigurdur Óli understand his situationSigurdur Óli has to dig through layers of intrigue to discover who attacked Lina and why He also looks into Andrés difficulties and uncovers some shocking secretsThe book has an array of interesting characters including Sigurdar Óli's girlfriend and mother fellow detectives local thugs and shady bankers The story has an engaging plot that leads to a satisfying resolution Very good mysteryYou can follow my reviews at


  2. Michael Michael says:

    I appreciate the subtle art in the construction of this police procedural set in Iceland The plot concerns the bludgeoning murder of a woman accountant known to be involved with her husband in wife swapping The protagonist in this 10th novel in a series is Sigurdur Óli a colleague of the usual lead detective Erlendur whom I encountered in “Jar City” He is ordinary in many ways not brilliant notably courageous or driven by ideals but he doggedly works to get the job done He discovers the victim while acting on behalf of a friends reuest to discourage a blackmail attempt involving a family member who participated in the wife swapping That would be an obvious motive for murder but the woman’s association with a group of bankers involved in financial shenanigans deserves exploration as well The case leads Óli down pathways that bring him into the lives of both the poor downtrodden and the financial high fliers of this liberal society As a conservative working class member of this culture he is disgusted by the apparently laziness and excuses of the criminals of the lower classes and by the corruption and greed among the upper classes Here is a bit on his mindset on the former type If there was one thing that deeply pissed him off about his job it was having to be matey with little jerks like Kristjan having to suck up to people he despised and stoop to their level even pretend to be one of them try to put himself in their shoes His colleague Erlendur found it easy because he understood these losers but Elinborg could call on some sort of feminine intuition when forced to consort with criminal lowlifes But the way Sigurdur Óli saw it there was an unbridgeable gulf between him and a delinuent like Kristjan From Sigurdur Oli’s point of view the little shit had forfeited the right to stand up and be counted to be listened to or treated as a member of societyThe evolution of Oli’s sensibilities and insights regarding the lives of these sorts of transgressors represents the hidden core of this novel His own experience of his parent’s divorce and inability to keep his relationship with his wife from falling apart begins to undermine the certainty of his judgment of other people Throughout the story a troubled mentally ill man he knows to have suffered terrible abuse from a stepfather as a child keeps trying to communicate with him hinting he has found his abuser The reader knows from the first pages he is seeking revenge Óli begins to have sympathy for the damage many people bear Will he be able to take effective action to intervene for this person or others in his cases whom the system has failed? This book begins to open my eyes a bit about what the renaissance of Nordic or Scandanavian Noir is all about As Goodread’s reviewer Harry Roolaart has been telling us so elouently the themes involve a special sort of realism distinct from the other traditional detective and crime novels of the West We do not get told what to feel and we don’t usually get the thrill of an exaggerated cat and mouse game with a fiendish villain or the blatant drama of classic noir with a lonely jaded hero struggling with pervasive corruption or organized crime Instead what we get here is almost a sociological approach to portraying the fate of lowly figures from the failed welfare system or of well to do people lured to illegal financial schemes The lead female characters in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Smylla’s Sense of Snow” were effective in finding pathways to retributive action contributing to the broad success of these particular novels Mankell and his predecessor from decades earlier Sjöwall and Wahlöö gained wide appeal from the uirky brilliance of their detectives Indriðason and apparently other writers in this new subgenre do not grab these tickets for widespread bestseller appeal I suspect many will feel depressed by this particular story and suffer from the low level of conventional action or personality pizzazz If you don’t expect these conventional entertainments maybe like me you will be satisfied with the subtleties in this tale The book was provided by the publisher through the Goodreads Giveaway program


  3. Carolyn Carolyn says:

    Arnaldur was uoted in an interview recently as sayingI have no understanding of financial markets but I understand that people can be greedyFor an author who claims little understanding he has probably written a lucid and accurate account of the reasons behind Iceland's 2008 crash than anything else I have read Cheap off shore credit poor government oversight and regulation shonky financial products and the whole neoliberal economic philosophy even Milton Freidman is obliuely referenced are all referred to here as is the rampant greed and reckless overconsumption that swept the whole western world in recent yearsBut writing economic commentaries is not Arnaldur's stock in trade he writes about people their tragedies motivations stupidity or wisdom As always he is a master of interweaving his themes with various plots For example he uses the economic climate in part to show the development and changes of attitudes in his central character Sigurdur Oli But a greater instrument for change is Sigurdur Oli's attempts to understand his own parents as a result of the breakdown of his partnership with Bergthora He is also humanised by his dealings with the tragic Andreas a figure whom he had previously despised as a hopeless loser In previous books in this series Sigurdur Oli has always seemed the antithesis of Erlendur However here we find similarities Neither man has the ability to properly communicate with those nearest to him possibly as a result of having parents who seldom really talked or answered uestions Both have problems from the past which still overshadow them and each is fundamentally a loner beyond superficial friendshipsAnd both men are extremely persistent and competent detectives able to draw seemingly unrelated pieces of evidence together to further their case There are three deaths in this book but are they all premeditated murders? Again in the case of one of the deaths we have far sympathy with the perpetrator than the victim whose evil destroyed a young boy's life This is another recurrent theme of Arnaldur's that sins of commission or omission towards children may have profoundly tragic effects for the rest of a person's lifeThus once Arnaldur has transcended the genre of mere crime fiction into a work of fine literary merit


  4. Tanja Berg Tanja Berg says:

    Since I reserve 1 rating for books I hate this gets 2 Huge disappointment and total waste of time I bought this book before I had a falling out with the author's works and it took me a long time before I picked it up I wish I hadn't I wish I'd just let it go unread It is bleak depressing and boring from start to finish There is not a likeable character in sight There is nothing wrong with the plotting and the theme child pornography is important but nothing of value is added There is nothing new here and nothing to hang on to About as cheerful as suicide note Not recommended


  5. Melissa Melissa says:

    What a mess of a book I've really enjoyed this series until this book In the course of the series Sigurdur Oli was the character I liked the least and this story didn't help He is a snob and a boring one at that There doesn't seem any other police officers working other than the one that tells him off As for the plot it is so thin you can read a newspaper through it and that would probably be a better use of your time The strands in which the two stories are intertwined are ridicously thin Honestly one or the other story would have been interesting but put together this way just doesn't work I'm really disappointed in this Partly because I have enjoyed this series so much and partly because the book is just not good


  6. Carol Carol says:

    Arnaldur has a skill for developing characters even though the characters are unlikable Another thing I like about this writer is that the violence is off stage I am still kicking myself for reading Jo Nesbo as I don't need his images in my head Arnaldur's stories are gritty but without graphic depictions of violence He leaves it to the reader to fill in the blanksI was anxious to read a new “Inspector Erlendur novel” but he himself appeared nowhere As a result the entire novel felt different I missed him And Sigurdur Oli is a much shallower and less interesting character although we did get to know him on a deeper level I hope Erlender returns in the next one


  7. Sarah Sarah says:

    The last book by Arnaldur Indridason Outrage saw the usual protagonist of the series detective Erlunder disappear for an extended leave of absence and the investigation taken up by his female colleague Elinborg I enjoyed the book but missed the character of Erlunder so was slightly apprehensive when I noticed he had not yet returned for Black Skies This time the central police figure is Sigurdur Óli known in previous books mainly for his attempts to become a parent with his partner BergthóraAlthough written in 2009 the book is set in 2005 at the height of Icelandic economic boom Sigurdur Óli attends a high school reunion and notes with dismay that most of his contemporaries have become rich from the country’s economic success However the friend of one his classmates is being blackmailed after he and his wife were photographed at a swingers party Sigurdur Óli agrees to pay a visit to the blackmailer but before he can speak to her he surprises an attack on the woman by an unknown assailant Sigurdur is now in a difficult situation as he tries to remain involved in the police investigation without revealing the reasons for his presence at the murder sceneMeanwhile an elderly man has been taken prisoner and had placed over his head a leather mask fixed with a spike similar to those used by Icelandic farmers to kill their animals It is clear that a disturbed individual is extracting revenge for past misdemeanoursSuch is Indridason’s skill as a writer that the elevation of Sigurdur Óli as a central character worked very well Instead of once focusing on the the fertility problems experienced by him and Bergthóra we see instead the toll that it has taken on their relationship and the separate paths they are now following The emphasis on the personal seemed to chime in with the plot Sigurdur is pressurised by a personal acuaintance to investigate a blackmail plot and when things start to disintegrate this friend unfairly blames Sigurdur for coming to the attention of the policeAlthough the blackmail plot is related to husband and wife swapping parties thankfully this isn’t at the centre of the book Instead the focus is on the greed of bankers and those in associated professions at the height of the economic boom As the author makes clear it is not only the selfishness of the bankers that is to blame for the spiralling debt situation but the archaic Icelandic laws which fail to provide a legal structure to address financial abuseThe book was as usual an engrossing read and although the relevance of the man with the mask wasn’t initially clear the links are eventually made The book is full of incidental detail including reference to the absent Erlundur Sigurdur’s relationship with his divorced parents and the despair of the police at the justice system which fails to keep repeat offenders off the streets As readers of Indridason will know these are themes that crop up again and again in his writing


  8. Aisling Aisling says:

    My favorite Indridason so far There is something very readable about this series One of the main plots is grim the death mask yet Indridason presents it in a new light and the reader will be deeply moved by the conclusion Simultaneously the reader is presented with a cautionary tale of greed complicated by police force politics A third light hearted plotline about someone stealing a newspaper and Sigurdur Oli's personal life round out a great read Fans of this series will not be disappointed


  9. Kristine Brancolini Kristine Brancolini says:

    Like other fans of Erlendur I was worried that a Erlendur mystery without Erlendur might fall a little flat Plus Erlendur's colleague Sigurdur Óli the protagonist of Black Skies is not a very likeable character Erlendur is endlessly morose and fascinating That had not been my impression of boring Sigurdur Óli Ok I was wrong about all of this I should have trusted Indriðason Ostensibly about a murder that is the result of blackmail there are really three crimes two related and one unrelated But the characters are what set Indriðason mysteries apart from the rest In Black Skies he offers a nuanced portrait Sigurdur Óli and completes the heartbreaking story of another character whom readers met in Arctic Chill Andres Indriðason departs from his usual narrative to fill in the complicated background of Sigurdur Óli His mother now an accountant has been divorced from his father a plumber for many years His mother seems to be cold and unforgiving His father tried everything he could to keep the marriage together; he became a doormat And Sigurdur grew up determined that he would do his damnedest to avoid turning out like his father 137 Sigurdur keeps asking the uestion What brought them together? He admits that he's baffled by their relationship He's coming to grips with the collapse of his own long term relationship with Bergthora and wondering how his parents' marriage may have affected him Sigurdur is definitely not my type Chilly and insensitive he's much like his mother than his father which hasn't helped his relationships with women No one including Bergthora is good enough for our Siggi according to his mother Ick Plus while studying at a police academy in the US he has become obsessed with American sports especially football and baseball Because of the time change he often stays up late at night watching football games on his satellite TV He has no interest in books the arts or anything cultural What a fun guy He has no sympathy for any criminal even youthful offenders who may have experienced brutal and impoverished childhoods He basically loaths his job and thinks he may have been wrong to abandon the study of law to become a policeman But in the course of Black Skies Sigurdur evolves He finds himself sympathetic to criminals and the down and out people like Andres A chronic alcoholic introduced in Arctic Chill his story is told here through flashback We learn about his sexual abuse at the hands of his step father and so does Sigurdur to whom Andres has reached out Andres has found his step father and plans to take revenge Or does he? After seeing a short film clip of Andres at age 10 Sigurdur reflects he rarely felt any sympathy for the luckless individuals he came across in the line of dutybut there was something about the boy's wretchedness his anguish and defencelessness that moved him 189 At this point Sigurdur begins to find his humanity and although I still miss Erlendur I kind of fell in love with SigurdurThere's of course Murders to be solved Details about the strangely lenient criminal justice system in Iceland No one seems to go to jail for very long despite the seriousness of the crime The seemingly deficient social welfare system The crazy financial situation that led to the collapse of their economy in 2008 Tidbits about life in Iceland City life vs country life And a death in the ice covered wilderness But the story of Andres is what will stay with you when you close this book It's horrifying and desperately sad


  10. Ed Ed says:

    I wasn't impressed with Jar City mainly because I found the pace too slow for my taste but I could no longer continue to ignore Arnaldur Indridason's Inspector Erlandur's exceptionally good reviews by my GR Friends Inspector Erlandur is otherwise occupied here so the action falls to Inspector Sigurdur Oli Sigurdur is approached by an old school friend to help retrieve some pictures for a friend that is apparently a victim in a blackmail scheme Sigurdur agrees to help but by not reporting the blackmail scheme originally he must now solve the complex mystery encompassing international banking murder and blackmail to stay above water himself Indridason weaves this very elegant and complex novel with a potential revenge killing by a child abuse victim Sigurdur is a lonely disappointed man in general but I liked him because he doggedly pursue's his concept of justice in an unjust world My first Jar City impression of Arnaldur Indridason's people was shortsighted and I'm now glad I gave this uniue group of Icelandic detectives another go They drive the action in subtle yet compellingly interesting ways Now it's back to Iceland for the other books in the series


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