Multi-layered police procedural situated in the year 2000 and full of flashbacks to the years preceding WW II and the wartime occupation of Iceland by Britain and the US, when Reykjavik became a magnet to the rural poor. It all starts with a human rib bone found at a building site on the capital’s outskirts. Who is it from? A team of archaeologists carefully investigates the site and its outcome becomes clear towards the end of the book. Meanwhile, inspector Erlendur and two colleagues follow up tiny clues from records and other sources to assess what was once built on or near the bone site. Erlendur is simultaneously gripped by stabs of remorse at his daughter Eva Lund’s hospital intensive care bedside. The flashbacks concern a terrible case of domestic violence that went on for many years. AI’s oeuvre covers many aspects of Iceland’s recent history and culture, starting with his strict adherence to Icelandic transliteration of names. He makes Erlendur occasionally scold colleagues for using English/US expressions, read only Icelandic history and old tales of missing persons and here, bemoan culinary imperialism: just one restaurant still cooks traditional Icelandic cuisine (brr). AI’s patriotism peaked with a novel that has not been translated in English, called “The King’s Book”, an Indiana Jones-type quest for Icelandic evidence to underpin Nazi efforts to create an un-Christian Germanic religion. It failed in the book, as in reality. This dark thriller is quite intense reading stuff and occasionally, spiritually rich and challenging.