This novel’s cover shows an archaeologically-correct-looking longhouse. It’s a tale about Vikings, and it reads like a saga of old! The setting is a family gathering: three brothers and a sister with their families, going home to the farm for a visit to their mother and father. Also present is the much younger adoptive daughter—Helga Finnsdottir, the narrator—and a couple of old family retainers. All starts peacefully enough, but childhood rivalries, skeletons in the family closets, and just plain personality clashes soon combine with power plays and money lust to form a powerful mix. First one brother, then another, is murdered; and the only people who are present are the family. Who could have murdered kin, and why?
This book is a relatively fast read. It is a satisfyingly crafted whodunit, with the reader unsure right to the very end who committed the double crime, but the clues are all there, and subtly placed. The narrator’s character arc is interesting, too. She starts as a passive, and rather innocent, observer, and by the end has taken on an active role, forcing the confession in true whodunit tradition. I enjoyed this book, with its larger-than-life characters and disputes. It looks like Helga has a further career ahead of her; I may well become a follower.