Iceland - no larger than the island of Luzon, and with about 320 thousand residents, no more populous than Martinique. So, how many murder mysteries could actually transpire in this Nordic country? And, how far apart do people need to be before they become strangers?
As my first [a:Arnaldur Indridason|47397|Arnaldur Indridason|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1282382108p2/47397.jpg] Reykjavic Murder book, I had some trepidation as to how entertaining it could be relative to all the other available crime thriller books. I thought there shouldn't be that much intrigue in a small island with so few inhabitants. Right?
But the author works to correct these impressions, earnestly describing the Icelandic norms and social milieu with attention to nuance and how these may differ from the rest of the world. And after a few chapters, I am well into the web of story-telling, beyond any hope of quitting.
On the surface, the book may seem to be a simple murder mystery. Someone is murdered, and a dogged investigator tries to unravel the various twists and false leads to get to the real killer. But perhaps the murder is just a transparent sheet with which to keep within the more colorful aspects of the book centered around the life of the investigator, the victim and the perpetrator, each dipped richly with Icelandic predilections and sensibilities.
The book is the reminiscent of the movie "Fargo" about a murder in a small town in Minnesota that the directors (the Coen brothers) made more memorable with insightful views of the town's people and lives.
As to answers to the initial questions - it only takes one wall to become a stranger, and two disagreeing persons for a murder to take place. Quite a sad observation on human nature.