Assignment in Andorra was published in 1973. This is a book that I did not finish, I did not want to after about 70 pages. The should have been a mystery, and I was looking forward to that. However, the main character a woman named Laurie spent all of her time worrying about her wedding plans, and thinking that all men are gods. I just could not do it.
If any one out there has an idea for a book that is written by a person from Andorra, that is translated in English please let me know.
For Norway I picked up a mystery called In the Darkness by Karin Fossum. I am not sure what to say about it other than I really am starting to enjoy the Scandinavian mystery writers.
This one was not as dark as some of the others that I read, but I did have to wonder if the Detective would have solved the crime without a confession. It was interesting the way that a what I thought of as a secondary character became one out in the for front. As this is a mystery I cannot tell much about the book as I do not want to give anything away.
One of my favorite things about this book was the place names. I just loved that. It was not even the names of the towns and cities. It was the names of the neighborhoods, what in America would be the subdivision. Instead of having Pine Vale or Timberland, there was Oscarsborg, and Trollguten. Those are awesome names. Oscar was my grandfathers name and well, the troll thing is just cool.
“‘No,’ Eva giggled, ‘but somebody’s got to take the trouble to emphasize the depths of existence. So that the rest of you have a surface to skate over.'”
The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus is my read for Germany. I know this is my second mystery but I was in the mood for that type of story.
When I read this book some of the personal interactions between the detectives did not make much sense to me. Then I found out that the books are not being translated in order and this is actually the third one in the set. That is ok for this book. There is just a little of the past that is missing, but it could also be seen as a stand alone.
In the book there is no record of the year that this is to have taken place, now if I wanted to I could do the math, I don’t. I bring this up because if the book is to have taken place when it was written then I learned that Germany is still very much affected by World War II. There are Nazi and old weapons and secrets from the war. I am not in a position to judge on how much a war effects a place and the memories of the people that live there. I did find it interesting how the author tied them all together.
In all the characters of the book my favorite had to be Pia Kirckhoff. She is the one who while not seeming to have a great grasp on who the killer was, had the best grasp on reality. Her observations about live for the different classes that are represented in the book was wonderful. Her understanding of the people close to her was refreshing.
One thing about the book that I did find a bit annoying was that everyone had a secret. I mean EVERYONE, and none of them were stated from the first. They came about later. There was also the relationship between the one couple that kind of creeped me out. They are both adults, it is just that they are related.
“He hurried to lower his head again and cursed his faith, which made him a captive of his acquired moral standards.”
“The carelessly prepared food, the loss of individuality, the lass then satisfactory care by surly and chronically overworked staff members who never had time for personal conversations- a life shouldn’t have to end like that.”
Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir was my look into Iceland. This is one of the countries that I would one day like to visit in real life. The pictures that I see of the country side just amaze me, and I would love to take my camera and see what I can get there.
My goal in reading the world is to learn something about each country that I happen to read about. I did learn something about the religious history of Iceland and about the witch trials there. I did not know that in Iceland that more men were accused, and killed then women. I did not know about the Irish Monks and their caves, in fact I am going to have to do a bit of looking into on them.
A few things I liked about the book. The author did not within the first few pages tell us who the killer is, it is not until the last chapter that is reviled. I like that in a mystery I do not want to know the “who did it” right from the start. I also did not figure out who the killer was, that for me is a bonus! What is the point in reading a mystery when it is easy to solve.
I did have a hard time liking both the main characters in the book. Thora, the lawyer did not come across as the heroin. She was childish, rude, and shallow. Matthew, the private security was just creepy.
One of the things about the book that really bothered me was the focus on appearance. I do not know if this is cultural or just something that the author is very interested in. Thora, makes fun of her secretary because she is over weight.”. . .so huge she has her own center of gravity.” Matthew, makes fun of Thora’s winter wear, and everyone who is not a friend of the murder victim comments on his appearance. His is a bit unconventional, but having spent the last few years hanging out with people who are into body modification I did not see that as strange at all. I was rather offended in this aspect of the book. I do hope that it is more of the author coming through on that then the people of Iceland.
“His great achievement was to wake up in the morning in the first place.”