Detective Erlendur Books

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Detective Erlendur is a literary character in the “Inspector Erlendur” series of novels written by Arnaldur Indriðason, an Icelandic author. The overarching plot of the series focused on a brilliant but gloomy Icelandic police, Detective Erlendur Sveinsson who is always pursuing a homicide case and searching for killers. The detective has his own demons due to his past. He is painstakingly unsociable, lonesome and he likes his privacy so much. When he is not chasing down killers, he is at home ruminating and pondering over details of an unsolved case or reading his outlandish collection of papers about people who vanished in the wilds of Iceland.

Order of Inspector Erlendur Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Jar City / Tainted Blood 2000 Description / Buy
2 Silence of the Grave 2001 Description / Buy
3 Voices 2002 Description / Buy
4 The Draining Lake 2004 Description / Buy
5 Arctic Chill 2005 Description / Buy
6 Hypothermia 2007 Description / Buy
7 Outrage 2008 Description / Buy
8 Black Skies 2009 Description / Buy
9 Strange Shores 2010 Description / Buy
10 Reykjavík Nights 2012 Description / Buy
11 Into Oblivion 2014 Description / Buy
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The first novel in the series, Sons of Dust (Synir duftsins) was published in 1997 and the second novel, Silent Kill (Dauðarósir) was published in 1998 but the two novels have not been translated into English. However, the third novel in the series, Jar City (Mýrin), also known as Tainted Blood was the first novel of the Arnaldur Indriðason series to be translated into English.

Jar City introduced the readers to Detective Erlendur, his two sidekicks Signurdur Oli and Elinborg, and his boss Mario. In the novel, an old pensioner was found murdered in his decrepit basement flat and the killer left two clues – a cryptic note and a photograph of a child’s grave were found on the body. Detective Erlendur and his team dug into the victim’s past and discovered that the child in the picture died of a rare genetic disease and her mother committed suicide, while the victim was accused of a violent rape about forty years earlier but was never convicted. The story is captivating and thrilling and in 2002, the book won the Glass Key Award for Nordic crime fiction.


Arnaldur Indriðason has received several awards for the Detective Erlendur series of novels. Jar City won the Glass Key Award for the best Scandinavia crime novel in 2002 and 2003. “Silence of Grave”, his fourth novel won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award in 2005. The Swedish translation version of the “Voices” won the best crime novel award – Sweden’s Martin Beck Award in 2005. The “Voices” also won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière – International Prize in 2007. The Draining Lake, his sixth novel won the best novel – The Barry Award, a crime literary prize award in 2009.


Jar City is the only Detective Erlendur novel that has been adapted as a movie. The movie was titled Jar City and was filmed in 2006, where the Icelandic actor, Ingvar Eggert Sigursson starred as Erlendur.


Jar City: Jar City is generally considered one of the best novels in Detective Erlendur series. The novel received multiple awards and was adapted into a movie. Another fantastic Detective Erlendur novel is “Silence of Grave” which was published in 2001, and was translated into English by Bernard Scudder. The plot focused on Detective Erlendur and his team as they investigate the human bones that were found buried on a construction site in Grafarholt. The investigation uncovers stories from 70 years ago which were connected to the bones in some way.

Voices: Voices is another interesting novel in Detective Erlendur series, it was published in 2003 but translated into English in 2006. The plot of this novel focused on another interesting murder investigation of an old doorman of a hotel who was preparing to dress up as Father Christmas but was stabbed to death in his miserable small room. Detective Erlendur investigates the murder case intensely, as he uncovers the past of the deceased and more ghosts from his own past. Detective Erlendur series is an award-winning series and every novel focus on an interesting storyline that captivates every reader. Other novel series include: The Draining Lake, Artic Chill, Reykjavik Nights, The Great Match, Strange Shores, Outrage, Black Skies, and Hypothemia.


Well, most Detective Erlendur readers love a series of murder mystery books. Most of them are fans of the “Inspector Sejer” series of novels, written by Karin Fossum, a Norwegian author of crime fiction. In Inspector Sejer series, the mild-mannered police, Inspector Konrad Sejer is not like any Scandinavian detective. He is smooth, old-fashioned and polite, he never loses control and does not have problems with his bosses. Some Detective Erlendur are also fans of “Inspector Banks” series of novels written by Peter Robinson. Alan Banks is an interesting maverick police character known for his love for music and he is from an English working class county background.

What Is The Next Book in The Inspector Erlendur Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Inspector Erlendur Series. The newest book is Into Oblivion and was released on November, 1st 2014.

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