I’ve been waiting for the next book Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s Thóra series and so was delighted when Ashes to Dust, the third book (after Last Rituals and My Soul to Take), turned up at my local library this spring.
As usual, Thóra has gotten herself involved in a most bizarre case. The story begins has she accompanies her client, Markús, to his family’s home on the Westmann Islands — it had been nearly destroyed in a volcanic eruption (think Pompeii) when he was a teenager in 1973. He insists upon visiting the home before archeologists are allowed in. Markús emerges from the basement with a definite need for a lawyer: there are three dead bodies, and one severed head in a box, down below. He claims to know nothing about any of this and says he went to retrieve the box not knowing that a head would be in it. As if that weren’t enough, the woman whom he says can explain it all also turns up murdered. The police want to blame Markús for the deaths, so Thóra must solve them all, the current one and the four decades-old murders, which are essentially a locked-island mystery because the bodies are covered with some volcanic ash yet the entire population of the island had been safely evacuated when the volcano erupted.
Aside from that, the continuing saga of Thóra’s personal life adds to my delight in this series. This time, Thóra’s love interest Matthew isn’t involved; instead, her sidekick is the ever-grumpy secretary Bella, who, among other things, spends a night with a sailor and unabashedly makes sure Thóra knows about it. As with Yrsa’s blog posts, a sense of humor underlies even serious subjects. Then there’s Thóra’s teenage son, daughter, and infant grandson, her ex-husband, and her decision regarding her relationship with Matthew.
I love these books. And I can’t wait for the English translation of #4, the Icelandic title of which is Veins of Ice.