In MY SOUL TO TAKE, Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s second book in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series, Thora travels to Iceland’s west coast to assist a client who needs her help in a real estate transaction. He wants recompense from the people who sold him the property because the farmhouses he purchased have a hidden defect. They are haunted. Jonas has opened a New Age health resort complete with aura reader and he knows that the presence of ghosts will doom his venture. Jonas knows that there are ghosts; he has seen one.
Shortly after Thora’s arrival, the police come to talk to Jonas. The body of a woman has been found on the beach; it is Birna, the architect Jonas had hired to build an extension to the hotel. She is buried under seaweed and there are signs that the killer knows the culture of the area. Thora realizes she must stay at the resort longer than she had planned in order to protect Jonas’ interests but she is also intrigued by the boxes of old photos and artifacts that Jonas claims have a connection to the hauntings. Among the photos is that of a little girl, the ghost Jonas saw while he was looking in a mirror.
Among the ordinary photos and papers, Thora finds a Nazi flag, parts of a uniform, and magazines published by the Icelandic Nationalist Party. The past is very close to the present in this remote section of Iceland.
Shame, guilt, greed, pride, and love reach back to 1945 and forward to the death of Birna. Superstition and fear combine for another murder. And Thora is the anchor of the story and the solution.
LAST RITUALS involves murder and witchcraft and connects to the very distant past. MY SOUL TO TAKE involves murder and ghosts and connects to the recent past. Both are well-worth reading. I look forward to the next book in the series.