Someone To Watch Over Me
Minotaur Books, Feb 17 2015, $25.99
In Reykjavík, Jósteinn Karlsson retains attorney Thóra Gudmondsdóttir to appeal the arson homicide conviction of his Down’s syndrome friend Jakob Porbjarnardóttir. Karlsson insists Jakob’s previous lawyer failed to use key evidence that pointed to someone else as the fiery killer of five people.
Taking on the case, the attorney quickly finds two oddities. First an unknown source sends her texts that lead Gudmondsdóttir to proof of rape and unwanted pregnancy, and several financial felonies; which provide two potentially radically different motives for the deadly inferno than what convicted Porbjarnardóttir; however those in the know fearfully refuse to testify. Second Karlsson seems to pop up everywhere her inquiry takes her.
The fifth Thóra Gudmondsdóttir mystery (see The Day Is Dark, Ashes to Dust, Last Rituals and My Soul To Take) is a terrific legal thriller that brilliantly uses the horrific impact on the lower classes by the country’s financial implosion to tell a tale of cover-up, avarice and arson. Although the storyline is overly complicated leading to stretches of passivity, Someone To Watch Over Me is an absorbing Icelandic tale.