The Legacy: Children's House Book 1 by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator)
|The Legacy: Children's House Book 1 by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator)|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: The start of a new series from this ever-compelling novelist is back to the genre of more generic thriller than usual, but is certainly a superior, and very dark, read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 464||Date: March 2017|
|Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton|
|External links: Author's website|
What do you wish for in your murder mysteries? An inventive death? Well you couldn't go much further than the unusual murder by household device that Elisa suffers here. She's a mother to a young family, whose husband was abroad at a conference. Do you seek awkward, unusual and/or conflicted investigators? Well, here we have a detective from the lower ranks, but the only one clean enough after post-financial crash investigations tainted all his superiors; and a woman who runs a home that investigates and recuperates child victims of sex abuse. She's here because the only witness to the murder was Elisa's very young daughter. And lo and behold, the two adults have history. Do you require taunting clues as to why this crime will be repeated? You can't do much better than the messages in numerals received by other characters and their untold threat. So it's tick, tick, tick – but what of the question marks left by the prologue, where another young family of children was separated as a best case scenario by the adoption agencies after a different nasty event in the past?
Forget the three stand-alone Yrsa Sigurdardottir books recently, as good as they are, for this is her back to where she started, a more straightforward investigative murder case – although not a routine procedural. Gone are the supernatural elements, but make no mistake, this is no less creepy for it. The case is so unusual, needing the usual galling amount of cleverness on the part of its creator, and the first murder so unusual in lacking clear motive, witness or suspect, and the fall-out regards people so young, you really do get an emotional drive from these pages. Despite that prologue, you also get the sense this is just one case, one story, whereas the others of this author's I've read try their damnedest to interweave different narratives – or at least pretend to.
The only thing lacking here I'd have expected due to Yrsa's oeuvre is the sense of place. This didn't have anything like the spirit of Iceland – this certainly didn't have the subject of Iceland we've had before, and this could have taken place in Anywheresville. It's perhaps a mere quibble. Another stronger claim for this book's fallibility is also if not excusable, then certainly understandable. I did find a little of this book went on a bit too much. But in its defence it's just so damned interesting, and fun, and engrossing, you really do have to restrain yourself from skimming. That would, however be a sin – here we're really in the hands of a great thriller writer. The Icelandic language editions of this series, such as the third that was the Christmastime number one book in the author's country, have great covers – ones linked to the contents in blunt ways but ones that completely obliterate the author's surname. With work like this, she should become big enough globally to go by just those four letters.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Another superior puzzle-type thriller recently is Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Legacy: Children's House Book 1 by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Legacy: Children's House Book 1 by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator) at Amazon.com.
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