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The Silence of the Sea [Paperback]

Yrsa Sigurdardottir
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 27 Feb 2014 --  
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Book Description

27 Feb 2014

The most chilling novel yet from Yrsa Sigurdardottir, an international bestseller at the height of her powers.

'Mummy dead.' The child's pure treble was uncomfortably clear. It was the last thing Brynjar - and doubtless the others - wanted to hear at that moment. 'Daddy dead.' It got worse. 'Adda dead. Bygga dead.' The child sighed and clutched her grandmother's leg. 'All dead.'

A luxury yacht arrives in Reykjavik harbour with nobody on board. What has happened to the crew, and to the family who were on board when it left Lisbon?

Thora Gudmundsdottir is hired by the young father's parents to investigate, and is soon drawn deeper into the mystery. What should she make of the rumours saying that the vessel was cursed, especially given that when she boards the yacht she thinks she sees one of the missing twins? Where is Karitas, the glamorous young wife of the yacht's former owner? And whose is the body that has washed up further along the shore?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (27 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444734466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444734461
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Yrsa Sigurdardottir is ensconced at or near the summit of Nordic crime writing, and the lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdottir is an appealing heroine full of real-life problems. (Marcel Berlins The Times)

The writing is excellent, the investigation scrupulous and the outcome miserable. (Literary Review)

An artfully constructed, highly entertaining read. (Radio Times)

A corker of a locked-room mystery, with one of the most dramatic twists in recent crime fiction. (The Sunday Times)

Book Description

Chilling Scandinavian crime from 'Iceland's answer to Stieg Larsson' - Daily Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid "locked-room" mystery 28 Feb 2014
By fasi
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A splendid fast-moving page-turner in the great tradition of locked-room mysteries. Moreover it does not conform to the stereotype of unrelieved grittiness now typical of much Scandinavian crime-writing. While the build-up of the mystery aboard the yacht is tense and doom-laden, it is interspersed with the attempts to solve the mystery by a very believable and fundamentally likeable investigator. And no gratuitous sex!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling tour de force 8 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"The Silence of the Sea" features an intriguing opening chapter: a luxury yacht arrives at its destination, but no-one is onboard. What happened to the crew and the passengers? And could there be an underlying reason or reasons for their disappearance?

Scandinavian crime fiction seems to dominate the publishing world at present and, although the novels I have read so far from this area have been of a very high standard, this particular book sets the bar even higher. I am reluctant to discuss too much of the plot but let's just say that there are a number of twists and turns which keep the reader guessing. However, where I feel the book really stands out is its depiction of the sea voyage leading to the discovery in the first chapter. The tension is not confined to the interaction between the crew and its passengers, but also the sea itself: there is a real sense of isolation and fear with the yacht in the ocean with no other contact for miles around. This sense of social deprivation lingers on after the book's ending, which is in itself gives another layer to the plot.

It's also worth pointing out that the translation is a very good one: the rule of thumb with translating is that the language should sound natural and in effect not read as if it is a translation.

I hope that the writer will release many more works in future. This is a classic work of crime fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be read on a cruise 28 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a truely creepy book much of which is set on a yacht sailing from Lisbon to Iceland. This is told in parallel with the investigation into what happened to the passengers and crew aboad when the boat crashes into Reykjavik harbour with no-one on board.
These two accounts make for an intreging mystery which perhaps knowing the fate and thinking the worse makes for uncomfortable reading at times. It is quite like the best of Agatha Christie's "Then there were none", with the hapless people seemingly trapped on a luxury yacht where you are mystified as to what is going on as it slowly dawns on you that you might no make it home.
The author is able to cranck up the suspense as the 'truth' is slowly revealed. Thora trying to make a case for all hands lost at sea so the elderly parents of the passengers and their grandchildren can plan for providing for the youngest granddaughter left as an orphan. The Police belatedly take a keener interest when another ship reports that the yacht radioed that a body had been found abord before all communications were lost with the stricken vessel.
The question is it an unexplained mystery like the Mary Celeste or is there a more rational explanation for what went on and if there could be survivors somewhere.
Original in its plot, and tied as usual to the Icelandic economy, although it is not set very much in the country some of its superstitions are carried into this terrifying tale.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling reading. 7 Mar 2014
I devoured this in two evenings, staying up far too late as a consquence.

A deserted yacht turns up in Reykjavik harbour. The passengers no-where to be seen. The story switches regularly between the voyage itself and then the investigation into what happened. The sense of impending doom is ever present but you are left with enough to hope that it may actually turn out alright, for some of the passengers anyway.

Its clever and not contrived. You feel the real loneliness and fear that would come from being in the middle of the sea, miles from anywhere with things not quite right.

Gripping reading without gore and guts. Clever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 7 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderfully atmospheric novel that kept me hooked till the last sentence. A must- read!
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am generally a fan of this author's works, and I've read most of her books. I LOVED I Remember You, which was genuinely the creepiest ghost story I've read in a very long time. And there was a little something of that in this book as well - a slight hint of supernatural malice, which I think is what I like best about this author's works. I read parts of this at night and did feel my skin kind of crawl a couple times.

That said, I rather dislike the character of Thora, so I like these books in SPITE of her character. The reason for her, a lawyer, to be involved never quite rings true to me, but what do I know? She also seems kind of cold, and I know Bella is meant to be this ridiculous laughing stock of a character, but I actually like her better than Thora who often comes across as a neurotic, judgmental cow...

But ASIDE from that.... This book did keep me guessing up to the end, which was nice, as I've read way too many books where I could see the exact ending coming from miles away. I did kind of suspect the ending, but there were other possibilities as well, so that was good. Like one of the negative reviewers said, some of the characters seemed a little like cardboard cut-outs, a bit too shallow, and the main character on the boat is a little bit annoying and idiotic at times - again, I didn't really buy his reason for being in that situation either, so it didn't quite work.

But what really let this book down, as it has done in most of the books that I've read by this author, is the ending. It came very abruptly and the explanation was very hurried and bunched up in a rushed and oddly unsatisfying denouement.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars easy reading
good easy reading
enjoyed the story
only wish she would stand up to her dads girlfriend that part off story ignores me
Published 14 days ago by mordies
4.0 out of 5 stars Intricate plot, well executed. I had to work to keep my hands from...
I have loved all her books. This was one of the best.
Highly recommended to anyone who loves a good mystery.
Published 1 month ago by Ripley
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable read not great but not terrible either....
A very interesting opening scenario for a mystery.

Some lovely evocative writing and the characters were well drawn out. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gerard Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silence of the Sea
This was bought as a present so as yet do not know but it looks really good for someone who goes sailing, thanks Amazon.
Published 1 month ago by Arthur James Kemp
4.0 out of 5 stars Good plot
I enjoyed reading this novel and found the story gripping without being over dramatic. However, there seem to be a number of peripheral characters (secretary, ex husband, children... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dorothy Shuttleworth
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting thriller, excellent translation
I'm not a great reader of so-called 'Scandi' crime thrillers, and so cannot compare it to other writers, but overall found it quite gripping. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ebook Proofreader
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea but not quite realised
The premise of this novel - an empty luxury yacht whose crew, which includes a young family, has disappeared - is well established. Read more
Published 2 months ago by NJL1974
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost in translation? Could the original be so bad?
It`s not often that I give up on a book but this is an exception. The plot is unbelievable and either the editor was asleep or totally ignorant of sea going vocabulary. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr George R Phillipson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and unusual thriller
I enjoyed this book. It had several unusual twists but despite this, seemed to hold together reasonably well (unlike some Agatha Christie plots which are so contrived that they... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr PJ Lee
2.0 out of 5 stars Silly ghost story. Tedious and drab
Very little to get you excited in this book by a writer compared to an 'Icelandic Stieg Larsson' - so they reprinted with a red sticker on all her works. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tim Chaney
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