Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The situation

Did you know Iceland was occupied during World War II?

It seems the British occupied Iceland pre-emptively, so Germany couldn't. British troops gave way to Canadian and then US troops. One of the great effects of the occupation was known as "the situation," whereby local women took up with the soldiers — married them, left with them, had children by them. Many of the women were viewed as prostitutes and traitors. Many Icelanders viewed this situation as a cultural as well as moral threat.

The Shadow Killer, by Arnaldur Indriðason, for all its 360+ pages, was a surprisingly swift read set amid unique circumstances in Icelandic history. The backdrop is, for me, the star of the novel.

A travelling salesman with his head blown off in someone else's apartment — IDing him is a bit of a task. A girlfriend who strays with a belligerent army boy. A whole mess of Nazi sympathizers.

Reykjavík detective Flóvent is on the case, teamed up with military policeman Thorson, an Icelandic-Canadian with the British Forces. One wonders what interest the case has for military intelligence.

This is the second in Indriðason's wartime mystery series. It reads perfectly well as a stand-alone, and I'm curious now to search out the first one.


See also Mrs. Peabody Investigates for a review and another excerpt.

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