July 2009

Yrsa Sigurdardottir - My Soul To Take

"... interesting and slightly odd."

In a remote peninsula in Iceland a woman is found murdered on the beach near to a new holistic centre cum spa hotel where people go to have their physical and spiritual ills cured using alternative therapies. She is the architect who is developing plans for the centre, built on the land of two farms belonging in the past to two brothers.

There has been some problem with the development, and lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir is called in to represent the owner of the hotel in negotiations with the heirs of the two brothers. When the body is discovered, she also represents him, as he is considered a suspect by the police. Her new German boyfriend Matthew joins her and together they discover that the previous history of the farms involving sibling jealousy and even Nazi sympathies has an impact on the investigation.

Unsurprisingly, the cast of characters in the New Age hotel are interesting and slightly odd. Together with the family tensions and money involved with those who sold the land to the developer Jonas, we have a group of unpredictable and self absorbed people whom Thora has to talk to and evaluate. She cuts a few corners in her search for the truth, and her relationship with the police is not exactly co-operative, but in the end she does help to find out what has really happened, both in the past and in the present.

The history which has provoked the events is dark and disturbing, but entirely believable. Thora herself is a dogged and determined individual, who tries to balance her complicated private life with pursuing her career. I think her care for her family definitely comes second!

Reviewed by: S.D.

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