Dunne, Oct 2007, $23.95
The grand hotel is loaded with tourists vacationing in Iceland during Christmas. However, the management calls the Reykjavik police to inform them someone murdered their doorman who doubled as Santa Claus. Police inspector Erlendur and Detectives Sigurdur Oli and Elinborg arrive at the crime scene to find in the basement the bludgeoned corpse of Gudlaugur Egilsson; a used condom hangs from his penis.
As saliva is taken from all the guests and employees, the three cops interview everyone, but no one admits knowing the victim outside of the hotel. The hotel manager confesses that he had just fired Gudlaugur, but had no motive to kill him. Erlendur and his companions soon learn that Gudlaugur was a popular soprano as a young boy so the sleuths turn towards his family, whom he was estranged from after an incident with his father left the older Egilsson wheelchair bound. Erlendur personalizes the case as it reminds him of his own family, but diligently continues seeking the motive that will lead to the killer’s identity if DNA testing fails to do so.
This terrific Icelander police procedural combines a strong murder investigation with Erlendur’s personal crisis as the case is wearing him down. His daughter visits him though everyone assumes she is a hooker he hired, and he considers an affair with a crime scene technician. Readers will appreciate Arnaldur Indridason’s fabulous whodunit due to predominately Erlendur (see his previous case SILENCE OF THE GRAVE).