The Mistake by Grant Nicol – 2015

The mistakeNordic noir with a kiwi twang!  The Mistake is a great jigsaw puzzle of a murder mystery.  A terrible car crash on a snow-covered lava field; nine years later in Reykjavík a man blacks out and when he comes to, discovers he is near a woman’s mutilated body – what is the connection?  And the slam dunk of a case, where the man with a dodgy story has been found right next to the victim, turns murky for Detective Grímur Karlsson when a vengeful father, a controlling psychiatrist and two illegal immigrant working girls are thrown into the mix.  The Mistake is novella length – it can be read in one sitting – and suffers for it.  It would have made a great full length novel where we could have really got to know Grant’s characters, saving them from the “all women are victims, prostitutes or evil; all men are well meaning, just following orders or psychologically damaged” array.  The resolution of the mystery is told rather than revealed, and the creepy ending – where we question who are the victims and who the psychopaths – although well done, doesn’t have the impact it might have had in a fuller novel.  Still well worth a read.


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