Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Review of My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (2009, Hodder)
My Soul to Take is the second book in the Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series set in Iceland. It is effectively an amateur sleuth tale, with Thóra running her own investigation that parallels, and at times, undermines the police’s work. The story is lively and engaging with a nice blend of various sub-plots concerning the contemporary investigation, the past concerning the hotel site and its former owners, and Thóra’s family. Sigurðardóttir populates the story with a mix of characters that all have possible motives for murdering the hotel architect or lack a convincing alibi, and keeps many of them in the frame for a sizable chunk of the tale, slowly whittling down the list of suspects. That said, it’s clear that it’s one of two people, and the reason why, from quite a long way out. The Icelandic landscape also provides an atmospheric backdrop. The pace is quite leisurely, with Sigurðardóttir spinning the tale out through a series of blinds, feints and tension points. My main issue with the tale was the amateur sleuth angle - Thóra’s actions, especially with respect to evidence and the police, or why various suspects are prepared to talk to her, is not really clear. Putting this issue of credibility to one side, the story is entertaining read.