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Last rituals : an Icelandic novel of secret symbols, medieval witchcraft, and mo
Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Adult Fiction YRSA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Similar in plot to Swedish author Helene Tursten?s The Glass Devil, this first in a new series from Icelandic author Sigurdardottir offers little readers have not seen before. As with Tursten?s novel, the spectre of demon-worship is at the heart of the mystery, after the strangled corpse of Harald Guntlieb is discovered with his eyes gouged out. Guntlieb, a German student, was attending graduate school in Iceland, examining the latter country?s history of witch-hunting, an academic pursuit that may have taken on more personal overtones. His grieving parents, who had already suffered the loss of a child, enlist attorney and single mother Thora Gudmundsdottir to objectively assess the police case against a drug addict arrested for the murder. Aided by an attractive ex-German police officer, Gudmundsdottir diligently tracks down the dead man?s friends and colleagues, before arriving at the truth. The author gives less of a sense of her native land than other contemporary Scandinavian crime writers like Karin Fossum, and the identity of the killer will surprise few. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

From Library Journal:

A new Icelandic mystery invites comparison with Arnaldur Indridason's crime fiction (Voices), but this title bears little resemblance. Th?ra is a thirtysomething divorcee, mother of two, and a partner in a small law firm. She is reluctantly drawn into a murder investigation when approached by the Guntlieb family, whose son, Harald, was killed at the university. With the pay at twice her usual rate and the assistance of Matthew Reich, the Guntlieb family representative, Th?ra can't refuse, even though the gruesome murder appalls her. To find the murderer, Th?ra and Matthew must delve into Harald's interests in witchcraft and witch burnings and investigate his university friends. Scudder provides such a smooth translation, right down to the slang used by Harald's college friends, that an engaged reader can easily forget this was originally written in Icelandic. Featuring two fleshed-out, involving lead characters and unusual witchcraft details, this is recommended for all public libraries, and readers' advisors can suggest this title to patrons who enjoy Scandinavian mysteries by Helene Tursten and Asa Larsson. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 6/1/07; for more recent crime fiction from Scandinavia, see "Murder, Nordic Style," LJ 8/07, p. 57.-Ed.]-Jessica E. Moyer, Univ. of Minnesota, Coll. of Education & Human Development, Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Thora Gudmundsdottir
Investigating the death of a young German student who had his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest; single mother of two.

Matthew Reich
Thora's assistant; ex-policeman.

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