søndag den 17. april 2011

Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Aske (2009)


Denne islandske spændingsroman er den tredje i serien om Thóra Gudmundsdóttir.

En prolog bruges somme tider til at sløre, at der ikke sker så meget i de første kapitler, men i Aske lægger forfatteren ud med et voldsomt mord. I kapitel et er der yderligere spænding plus en regulær cliff-hanger, og i kapitel to ruller hovederne for alvor. Læseren bliver fanget fra første side, men til trods for alvoren er der en dejlig, ironisk tone over sagføreren Thóra Gudmundsdóttir og hendes undersøgelse af den usædvanlige sag.

En kort præsentation af det spegede plot: Thóra repræsenterer Markús, en klient som insisterer på at få adgang til sit barndomshjem i Vestmanna, før arkæologer giver sig til at kortlægge ´Nordens Pompei´ efter vulkanudbruddet i 1973. Han får lov at fjerne en kasse fra kælderen, men da Thóra, Markús og arkæologen omsider står i huset, opstår en uventet komplikation: ud over det menneskehoved, Markús havde håbet på at smugle ud, ligger der ligene af tre mænd. Så nu er hans eneste chance, at barndomsveninden Alda vil bekræfte, at hun bad ham om at opbevare kassen, da alle indbyggerne måtte flygte fra Vestmanna.

Denne roman på fire hundrede sider føles meget kortere, fordi Thóra som sædvanlig flyver af sted i højt gear, travlt optaget af sin sag og sit komplicerede privatliv med børn, svigerdatter og barnebarn. Der er ikke meget tid til hendes langdistancekæreste Matthew denne gang, men da han overvejer at flytte til Island, hører vi måske mere til ham i fremtiden. Til gengæld træder advokatkontorets umulige sekretær, Bella, mere i karakter denne gang som en person, der har andet end tværhed og sit kiksede udseende at byde på.

Jeg kunne lide forfatterens debut, jeg var begejstret for tooeren, og treeren er ikke bare hæsblæsende spændende - den giver også et fascinerende indblik i følgerne af vulkanudbruddet i 1973, en naturkatastrofe som på fornemste vis væves sammen med et kompliceret krimiplot. Fem-stjernet spænding, lånt på biblioteket.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Ashes to Dust (2010).
This Icelandic thriller is the third story about the lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdottir.

Sometimes a prologue is used to hide the fact that nothing much happens in the first chapters, but here the author serves up a violent murder, followed by escalating excitement in the first chapter, and in the second chapter heads begin to roll quite literally. The reader is captured from page one, but despite the serious and unusual case, there is a fine, ironic tone and not nearly as much gore as one might fear.

A short introduction to the intricate plot: Thóra is hired by Markús, a client who insists on getting access to his childhood home in Vestmanna before the archaeologists begin to map the Nordic Pompeii after the volcano eruption in 1973. He is allowed to remove a box from the basement, but when Thóra, Markús and the archaeologist can finally enter the house, an unexpected complication arises. Apart from the human head Markús had hoped to smuggle out, he finds the bodies of three men on the floor. Now his only hope is that his childhood friend Alda will confirm that she asked him to store the box for him when everybody had to escape from Vestmanna in the middle of the night.

This novel of four hundred pages felt considerably shorter because Thóra darts off at maximum speed, busy with her case and her complicated private menagerie with children, daughter-in-law and grandchild. There is not much time left for her long-distance relationship with the German Matthew in this volume, but as he is considering moving to Iceland, we may hear more of him in the future. Thóra´s hopeless secretary, Bella, plays a more central role this time, however, and we begin to see her as more than just a snarky failure.

I liked Yrsa Sigurdardottir´s debut, I enjoyed the second very much, and the third one is not only a fast-paced thriller - it also offers a fascinating insight into the consequences of the volcano eruption. Five-star excitement!

I borrowed the book in the local library.
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9 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - I'm so very glad you liked this one :-). In my opinion, this series is a really fine one, and both the author and the protagonist are evolving over time. I hope to see more of that and in the meantime, thanks for this excellent review :-)

Bernadette sagde ...

Sounds good Dorte, I liked the first 2 books - just keeping an eye on the price of this one as it's quite high (and the library seems uninterested).

Mason Canyon sagde ...

Sounds like an intriguing read.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: I agree that there is a nice development from one book to the other. If she keeps this up, I´ll have to add some extra Sigurdardottir stars in the future :)

Bernadette: I know all about that; I rarely buy Scandinavian novels, but our library has quite a large selection of crime fiction. They are marvelous, really.

Mason: it is, and I really admire the way she weaves the natural disaster of 1973 into the plot.

pattinase (abbott) sagde ...

Another Nordic writer I mean to try. I picked up a couple at the Borders books sale.

Dorte H sagde ...

Patti: brilliant idea!

Ellen sagde ...

Always nice to hear of a 'new' writer, and this one is new to me.
I'll look for this book next time I visit my library - I get the feeling that I can start with 'Aske' without missing a lot...

Joanne sagde ...

Another one for my pile! Thanks, Dorte.

Dorte H sagde ...

Ellen & Joanne: strongly recommended!