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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific police procedural uncovering deep family mysteries
Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson's first AmazonCrossing title, The Flatey Enigma, was great fun if a rather implausible whodunit. This second one, House of Evidence, was originally published in Icelandic 4 years earlier (in 1998) than The Flatey Enigma, but is a much better book in all respects. Its scenario is fascinating - the progress of an Icelandic family against the...
Published on 14 Dec. 2012 by Brian J. Cox

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous start but loses itself towards the middle
I have to agree with most of the other 3* reviewers for House of Evidence. Starts well. For the first 100+ pages I was enthralled by the novel. I'm a fan of railway history and that helped because a key feature of the plot concerns the potentional building of a railway in Iceland. I enjoyed following the history of the Keiller family as the narrative dips in and out of a...
Published on 25 Jan. 2013 by JK


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5.0 out of 5 stars A very good debut novel..., 16 Jan. 2013
By 
John "John75222" (Leeds, Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Paperback)
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This is a very good read, although you might feel that you've read similar and the ending is almost straight out of the The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (Collins Classics) (The problem of Thor Bridge), at least it's pretty similar. Set in the early seventies it provides a pretty bleak social commentary of Iceland of the time. It also gives a potted history of Icelands establishment as a republic after the separation from Denmark.

The use of parallel stories within the narrative is not unusual and occurs in Indridassons The Draining Lake: A Reykjavik Murder Mystery (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4), another Icelandic murder mystery. What makes this story different is that you're looking at almost identical crimes a generation apart happening to close family members. The interplay between the team investigating the murder is pretty standard fare these days with the team all having quirks and difficulties in their private lives that means the perspective and prejudice they bring to solving the case is based on the baggage they bring with them. Iceland appears to be the new Scandanavia in terms of dour bleak social commentary within its crime novels.

But, that said, this is a very good and elegantly translated novel that draws you in and keeps your attention. The characters have dimension and form and you can't help but want them to succeed. I would recommend this to any reader of Scandanavian/Icelandic crime/mystery/thriller novels.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would I slander an Icelander?, 6 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Paperback)
No, no need for slander, libel or anything else - just an expression of disappointment. As with my fellow reviewers, the idea initially grabbed my attention, but in my case the pages seemed to grow heavier as the novel went on.

At first, I found the police procedural business quite interesting: I've never known the forensic Scene-Of-Crime boys followed in such detail! But with the interleaving of the victim's diaires, I began to smell the distinctly fishy odour of padding. The diary entries do effectively demonstrate the descent of a mind from enthusiasm, via obsession, to something like madness; but their sketchiness serves merely to tell when they should show - can't the author manage (or be bothered?) to realise his story more effectively?

It's no worse than OK, as my three stars indicate - but no better, either. I must take issue with at least one other reviewer here: this novel IN NO WAY approaches Larsson's Millenniium trilogy in readability, characterisation, theme, or any other quality I can think of. Except, perhaps, that there is quite a lot of snow involved.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Tell me something I don't know!", 4 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Paperback)
I really love books that make you stop reading in order to look up something you don't know; in this case, what happened in Iceland during WW2. However, "House of Evidence" is in no way a dry tome overloaded with the author's research; on the contrary, it is a well-told murder mystery which, although taking its time, finally winds up into a brilliantly unexpected conclusion entirely consistent with everything that has gone before.

Although the plot - set in Iceland in 1972, but harking back to events in the first half of the twentieth century - is complex, nevertheless the author doesn't skimp on the characters. Far from being the cardboard stereotypes so often found in police procedural novels, the investigation team here are portrayed as individuals, and we have glimpses of insight into their frustrations and their triumphs. And the Kieler family, past and present, are fascinating; when I re-read this book, as I know I shall, I sense there is far more to learn of the enigmatic Elizabeth, and the true native of Jacob Senior's mental condition.

Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a complex, mysterious and ultimately very satisfying read in an unfamiliar setting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars House of Evidence, 26 Aug. 2013
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Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Paperback)
I read The Flatey Enigma by this author (translated to English) and loved it, so looked forward to this story. In 1973, Jacob Kieler Junior dies in the family home from a single bullet wound, to be found the next day by his housekeeper. The investigating police, led by Halldór Benjamínsson find that Jacob's father Jacob Kieler Senior died in 1945, also from a bullet wound in the family home. Nobody was ever convicted of the crime. Could the two incidents possibly have any link? Interlinked with the story of the investigation we read excerpts from Jacob Senior's diary, as he goes to Denmark to study as an Engineer, and then life through the First World War and up to the time of his death.

This is another great story; intriguing mystery and `real' characters, struggling to solve mysteries in their present 1970s, and the reader learning at the same time of the political and cultural struggles in Iceland and Europe through the early part of the twentieth century. Ingolfsson crafts his stories well; the unravelling of the story is well paced, and the mysteries enthralling. Great stuff.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like father, like son, 10 Dec. 2012
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Paperback)
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All books Scandanavian must be worthy of our interest or, at least Amazon think so. This book was first published in 1998 and only now comes before us in English. In fact, it's not half bad.

I read and enjoyed another of the author's books, "The Flatey Enigma" which impressed me with the way the story was constructed.

This, then, is almost as good. Perhaps it rambles a little here and there but since the story is set in Iceland in 1973, the fact that it has just been translated is no detriment. There is a back story, too, in the form of a series of diaries written by a man who was the father of the victim we meet in chapter one, a bullet in his chest, bleeding his life away on the parlour floor.

And so begins a murder hunt, compounded by the fact that the man's father was found dead in exactly the same manner in 1945.

This is very much a police procedural. Clues are sparse, potential suspects are soon eliminated and, although the main story gathers pace slowly, there is much in the recounting of the diaries which interests the reader.

World War II has its inevitable fall out which, as far as this story is concerned, affects the chances of our main protagonist ever building a railway in Iceland. But there is so much more lying hidden in and amongst both stories.

The author recreates the atmosphere well, Iceland in 1973 seems to have stretched much further back than I remember England in that year. Events move slowly and yet the author manages to keep the interest flowing with snippets here, possible clues there, all of which come to nothing until the very end of the book. Just as it should be in a good whodunit and don't overlook the author's notes at the end of the book. I normally give up half way through when we find the author thanking his hamster for keeping the wheels turning but in this case, it does explain the very last paragraph of the book - and you need to know if you're in the least bit curious.

One final comment about the translation. Both of the translators are either English or fluent in English and I have no gripe about that. The translation is excellent except, here we are again with this ghastly Americanism `gotten' which does not feature in English (pardon my pedant friends who remind me of ill-gotten gains but this is old English). I blame the editor or maybe the proof reader but, either way, I was taught never to use get or nice so gotten is nicely irritating and spoils the flow of the reading - well, for me, anyway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 6 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Kindle Edition)
I have not got into the whole Scandinavian crime novel craze, but this one was interesting because of its low-key approach to the people, to the actual detective work (not awfully CSI), and because it gave me the feeling that I was getting some Icelandic ambience (without really having a clue, never having been there). It only felt like a translation on a few occasions, so it was, overall, a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Father & Son killed nearly 30 years apart, 8 Mar. 2013
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HJK (Gomersal UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Paperback)
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This is the second book I have read by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson - The Flatey Engima being the first - they are quite different - I have enjoyed both of them.

The book is set in Iceland and starts in 1973 with the death of Jacob Keiler Jr from gunshot wounds in his home - nearly 30 years earlier his father was also found shot, in the same room, in the same house - a crime which was never solved.

The story is told in the 70s with the police trying to discover what happens - this is interwoven with the diaries of Jacob Keiler Snr. from the early 20th century.

The pace is slow - this is not a violent fast paced thriller - but the story is very interesting and although one sort of guesses what happened, it is the how and why we do not discover till the end.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, 16 July 2013
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Paperback)
"House of Evidence" by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson is an enjoyable thriller with a historical component. Set in Iceland and through diary entries in some other countries it tells in two narratives the investigation of a murder in Iceland in 1973 and also the family history of the murdered man.
The diary from 1913 - 1945 serves as an interesting excerpt of Icelandic and European history through the eyes of a young Icelandic man and they make the book alone worth reading. There are some great sub plots and turns in the story to surprise you, although at times I the investigation in 1973 could have gathered speed for my liking.
A good read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A classical Scandinavian atmospheric., 14 Sept. 2014
By 
JuliasCezer (Late of UK now Rome) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Evidence (Kindle Edition)
Mr. Ingolfsson blends the past and the present together to give a fascinating insight into what an all encompassing obsession can do to everyday lives. As seems to be the norm in these cold clime novels the sun shines briefly and the script is definite film noir. The detectives involved in the investigation are faceless shadows and don't dominate. The novel is also a bit of a history lesson and I still don't know if Iceland has a railway system or not. No doubt Google will answer this for me. Spare a thought for poor Halle if only Jacob Seniors plans had reached fruition. Great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story but ploddingly written or translated - hard to ..., 8 July 2014
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Interesting story but ploddingly written or translated - hard to say which. I got to the end - which was rather clever - but a bit of a slog getting there.
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House of Evidence
House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson (Paperback - 11 Dec. 2012)
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