Last Rituals: An Icelandic Novel of Secret Symbols, Medieval Witchcraft, and Modern Murder
by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Review by Gayle Surrette
William Morrow Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061143366
Date: 01 October 2007 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /
Thóra Gudmunsdóttir and her partner Bragi have set up a law office, but it came with a secretary that doesn't take messages, rarely speaks civilly, and doesn't follow directions. So, it's a miracle that Thóra manages to actually get the call from Amelia Guntlieb asking her to look into the death of her son, Harald. The Guntliebs are convinced the police have the wrong person. Thora remembers reading about the murder in the papers, but fails to see how she can help. However, the pay is tempting, the case intriguing, and Thora agrees to help. From official release/information:
The spellbinding debut and international sensation being published in thirty countries featuring Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, a smart, sexy lawyer and investigator whose hunt for a modern murderer points to a very odd—and evil—chapter in Iceland's pastAfter the body of a young German student—with his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest—is discovered at a university in Reykjavík, the police waste no time in making an arrest. The victim's family isn't convinced they have the right man, however, so they ask Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, attorney and single mother of two, to investigate. The fee is considerable—more than enough to make things a bit easier for the struggling lawyer and her children.
It's not long before Thóra and Matthew Reich, her new associate, discover something unusual about the deceased student: He had been obsessed with the country's grisly history of torture, execution, and witch hunts—a topic made all the more peculiar by the fact that unlike witch hunts in other countries, those in Iceland had targeted men . . . not women.
As Thóra and Matthew dig deeper, they make the connection between long-bygone customs and the student's murder. But the shadow of dark traditions conceals secrets in both the past and the present, and the investigators soon realize that nothing is as it seems . . . and that no one can be trusted.
(Source: William Morrow)