The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The Blurb On The Back:

I’m going to tell you something.  A little story.  A tragic tale.  I advise you to listen carefully. 

It’s about a legacy …

The murder was meant as a punishment – but what sin could justify the method?

The only person who might have answers is the victim’s ten-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died.  And she’s not talking.

Newly promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja and the Children’s House for their expertise with traumatised young people.  Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn’t best pleased.  But she’s determined to keep little Margret safe.

It may prove tricky.  The killer is leaving them strange clues: warnings in text messages, sums scribbled on bits of paper, numbers broadcast on the radio.  He’s telling a dark and secret story – but how can they crack the code?  And if they do, will they be next?

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Detective Huldar Jonas is a junior member of the Reykjavik police squad and never expected to lead an investigation, let alone one as high profile as the murder of Elisa Bjarnadottir – a married mum of three who worked in the tax department who’s been gruesomely murdered with a vacuum cleaner.  Fortunately he has a witness – Elisa’s 7-year-old daughter Margret was hiding in the room during the murder – but she’s so traumatised by what she saw and heard that she’s refusing to talk.

Enter Freyja, a child psychologist from the Children’s House (a group that specialises in working with traumatised children).  Freya’s determined not to let the police run roughshod over Margret – especially not Huldar, who she shares a past with.  But the clues she coaxes from the girl are confusing and strange and it isn’t long before Huldar has another victim killed in an equally bizarre way.  The only person who could help them is 23-year-old chemistry student and CB radio fan Karl Petursson, who’s been picking up strange coded messages through his set that seems to connect the victims.  But Karl’s got problems of his own, because the latest message seems to make him the next victim …

Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s latest crime thriller (translated into English by Victoria Cribb and the first in a new series) is a flat affair with two leads who lack chemistry and a psycho-of-the-week antagonist whose reasons stretched credibility and which relies on key information not being conveyed until the end.  The idea of Freyja and Huldar meeting again after a one-night-stand is a cliché hampered by their lack of chemistry on the page and some stilted dialogue.  I liked the idea of Huldar being an out-of-his-depth detective being set up to fail by his bosses but the investigation itself was too slowly paced for me to root for him – especially as the denouement rests on him suddenly putting a number of clues together that had not previously given to the reader.  Freyja’s background was bit more ho-hum for me and I’m bored with female characters who are desperate for a boyfriend, although I would like to see more of her and her brother, who has potential given his criminal background.  Ultimately this was an okay read and I would definitely check out Sigurdardottir’s other work, but I’m not sure that I would rush to read the next book in this series.

THE LEGACY will be released in the United Kingdom on 23rd March 2017.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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