Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “House of Evidence” as Want to Read:
House of Evidence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

House of Evidence

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,082 ratings  ·  108 reviews
From celebrated author Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson comes an atmospheric and gripping tale of ambition, technology, and the twisted history of Iceland's railway.

On a cold January morning in 1973, inside a stately old house in Reykjavik, blood pools around Jacob Kieler Junior from a fatal gunshot wound to his chest. Detective Jóhann Pálsson, an expert in the emerging field of f
Paperback, 377 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by AmazonCrossing (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about House of Evidence, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about House of Evidence

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,082 ratings  ·  108 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, europe, 2016
Set in Iceland in 1973, the book begins with the discovery of Jacob Kieler, Junior, who has been found shot in his museum-like home. To add to the mystery we are told that his father, Jacob Kieler, Senior, was also found shot in the same room thirty years earlier. So who is the killer and why have these two men been targeted?

The story is told in alternating chapters from the perspective of the various police officers involved in the investigation, and Jacob Senior's diaries over his lifetime. J
Oct 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in obsession, trains
Recommended to Katy by: Amazon Vine
Book Info: Genre: Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: people fascinated by trains, obsessions
Trigger Warnings: murder; anti-gay sentiments; violence toward “others”, especially GLBTQ folk, women and hippies, as well as Nazi violence in general during “past” times

My Thoughts: I mostly took this book because it is set in Iceland, a country in which I am very interested, and it features forensic science, in which I'm interested. Overall it lived up to the expectations I had for it, but there were a few places/>My/>Trigger/>Recommended/>Reading
Sean Endress
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Taken from my Amazon review
Disclaimer: I purchased this ebook for free during a sale.

Ingolffson's "House of Evidence" consists of 399 absolutely packed pages - he has a true gift for giving a very full picture of a scene and using many different kinds of sensory input to place the reader within the pages of the book. It is clear that he has envisioned everything down to the very last detail, and he makes sure to convey all of these details to the reader - at times, it can actua
Lukasz Pruski
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Victor Arnar Ingolfsson's "House of Evidence" is a very European book; it is about not being able to realize one's lifelong dream. Had someone told me a few days ago that I would be engrossed in a book where one of the main plot threads is a story about attempts to build a railroad line in Iceland, a book where an engineer's diaries from the early 1900s account for almost a third of its volume, I would not have believed. Yet I found the novel very interesting, and I had a lot of fun reading it - ...more
Cleopatra  Pullen
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, mystery
When the police turn up at a house in Iceland they find the body of Jacob Kieler Junior on the floor having been shot. The only thing that appears to be out of place is a single chair. Detective Jóhann Pálsson soon discovers that Jacob Kieler the father of the deceased was found in remarkably similar circumstances in 1946 nearly 30 years previously. The police try desperately to work out the link between the two deaths with the help of Jacob’s (the father) diaries which span from 1910 to 1946. ...more
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a relief to return to a thoroughly well-written and imaginative novel after some of the formulaic twaddle I've been reading lately. Viktor Arnar's prose is smooth without being trite, elegant without being superfluous.
He set the investigative strand of the novel in 1973, reflecting authentic cultural attitudes for those times. For instance, we have one police officer whose aggressive attitudes would not be tolerated now (Egill seems to have similar attitudes to his namesake from the
Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
House of Evidence starts off with a shocking murder. Reykjavik’s detective division is called in to investigate. We soon find ourselves in the midst of not one, but two murder investigations; that of Jacob Kieler and also his father’s murder, a cold case dating back more than twenty-five years ago.

Ingolfsson does a fantastic job with this whodunit, he keeps the mystery well shrouded until the very end. What I really loved was the parallel investigations, each chapter ended with detec
Christoph Fischer
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
"House of Evidence" by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson is an enjoyable thriller with a historical component. Set in Iceland and through diary entries in some other countries it tells in two narratives the investigation of a murder in Iceland in 1973 and also the family history of the murdered man.
The diary from 1913 - 1945 serves as an interesting excerpt of Icelandic and European history through the eyes of a young Icelandic man and they make the book alone worth reading. There are some great sub
This was another 3 1/2 star book for me. There was an interesting family story about a now-deceased ancestor obsessed with building a railroad in Iceland. This family and a current and past murder are at the center of the story. Monarchists and Nazis figure into the story, as well as family secrets.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I am a huge fan of Nordic Noir, but this book was slow as molasses! It took me forever to get through it due to the storyline moving so slowly. Now, in reading other reviews, comments were made as to issues with translation and I don't know if that was reasoning behind the issues, but based on this book, I don't know if I will be reading the author's other work.
Ken Fredette
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read of Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson. Was a lot of back reading. But it came out in the end with Jóhann and Hrefna hooking up.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
In Reykjavík in 1973, police investigate the death of Jacob Kieler Jr. who was found dead in his home. His father, a prominent engineer obsessed with building a national railroad, had been killed in the same way in the same spot almost 30 years earlier. The story focuses on the police investigation, giving the perspectives of various members of the investigative team, and Jacob Sr.’s diaries written between 1910 – 1945. The police set out to find the connection between the two deaths.

The book i
R.E. Conary
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
HOUSE OF EVIDENCE is in a class by itself -- a Cozy Police Procedural.

Snow quietly blankets Reykjavik. A man quietly dies in his home of a gunshot wound. Police detectives quietly rise and go to work. Like that soft blanket of snow, HOUSE OF EVIDENCE quietly reveals its mystery; but also, like the island nation itself, magma smolders below the surface ready to create a new volcano in this Icelandic tale of intrigue and obsession.

The investigating Detective Division team s
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
"That family will stick in our minds for some time, I imagine," concluded one of the detectives in the book, and I'm inclined to agree! Both the family history and the mystery itself are interesting and memorable.

The story includes characters from both the past and the present. The family history is intertwined with developments in Europe (WW1 through WW2) and is gradually revealed in the form of diary entries at the end of each chapter and through police work. Some of the history is moving, bu
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ll be honest, I loved this, but in no way shape or form was I thinking this would get anywhere near 5 stars until near the end. Furthermore, this definitely isn’t a book for everyone.
The story is very fascinating, a police procedural with a historical backdrop through diary entries lasting from 1910 until 1945. There are a lot of characters introduced and the style of writing was unique to me, though I imagine this is something akin to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Shelock Holmes series. The story it
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
It took me a long time to read this book and I have to say the end was a little abrupt and surprising. The book is a good story and well put together, nicely paced in a good sequence of events with interesting characters. Very sad story and at times it was a somber ambiance felt by the narrative. I enjoyed this book and recommend to those who enjoy Icelandic investigative police drama/fiction books. This is not a suspense crime thriller, just letting you know.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book. Told in two viewpoints - one from diaries in the very early 1900s, one from the books current time period of the 1970s.
I do have some trouble keeping up when the books are originally from foreign countries; for instance this one is based in Iceland. Other than that, the cities and peoples' names can be figured out. Good author
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Look, this was boring as hell. The author's tone was so far removed from the subjects and the plot of the book. This book reads like a fleshed out crime report.
Patricia Brown
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Icelandic railways

This was a fascinating book and the explanation of the 'murders' ingenious. I was particularly interested in the historical details
Raj Nalekar
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice read. Only if the end wouldn't have turned out to be a damp squib. But still a good one to keep you engrossed
Lisa Tollard
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Though character names were hard to decipher, I consider this read fantastic. The plot twist and conclusion was a total surprise
Mary Ahlgren
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy reading books that give me a different perspective on a country and its place in history. This did both.
Brynjar Orn
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost gave up on it when I was about half way through. Really glad I did not, much better than it looked for a while.
Would like to read more from this author.

Really interesting, now in 2017 we are still talking about the possibility of bringing railroads to Iceland. One part of the story is about a person really obsessed with this idea, much sooner
Sep 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ingolfsson
finished this one today, 1st from this writer, mystery of who-dunnit, good read if you're in the market for that type of mystery, set in iceland though scenes in other places, germany, england, the states, as well. thought the tone of the conversations interesting...there seemed at times to be a mood about the way people conversed call it icelandic atmosphere, or something. along those lines. scandahoovian. familiar. onward & upward.
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Set in Reykjavik in 1973, police are called to the scene of a murder. Jacob Kieler Junior has been found shot dead by his housekeeper. There are no signs of a break-in and no motive – at least initially. The added twist is that Jacob Kieler Senior was also murdered, shot almost 30 years previously with the same gun. Although police had a suspect at the time, no one was ever charged and the suspect is long dead. His son is not however and becomes a prime suspect.

I found this book an e
"After everything else, it was simply their own obsessions that killed them," [p. 376]

Depression, intrigue, murder, cold, and obsession are words I'd use to describe Viktor Ingolfsson's House of Evidence. I was drawn into the cold and snowy world of Iceland, and then led down a rabbit hole I hoped had an ending. The plot was straightforward enough…a father and son were both murdered in the same room of the same house, over 30 years apart. But the deeper the mystery unfolded, the less
Rebecca Martin
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book started a little slowly and I had trouble remembering names and following the moves back and forth in time, BUT I soon got the hang of it and became totally engrossed in this novel.

This might not be everyone's cup of tea, especially if you allow yourself to become too distracted by the discussions of railroads and rail engineering in the book. There's a lot of it, but it is very relevant to the plot and to what we finally come to understand about the people and politics involved. The
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
This is so much more what I was looking for from this author when I picked up his more recent novel, Daybreak. This novel, set in the early 1970's, includes long excerpts from a series of fictitious diaries from the late twenties through WWII. I learned more of the rough history of Iceland, including the vote to become a republic instead of a kingdom, in the course of this one mystery novel than I managed to piece together from seventeen years in the American public school and university system. ...more
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
"House of Evidence" is a very ouststanding and unusual novel. The plot unfolds in two separate ways: First of all there is the current case, in which an engineer is found shot in his parlour and the police investigates about this murder, all, as it is common in the scandinavian crime literature, well embedded in the distinct detectives' personal lifes. By this the reader gets to know both, the victim's family as well as those of the detectives, better. At the end of each chapter some quotes from ...more
Julian King
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
At first, I found the police procedural business quite interesting: I've never known the forensic Scene-Of-Crime boys followed in such detail! But with the interleaving of the victim's diaires, I began to smell the distinctly fishy odour of padding. The diary entries do effectively demonstrate the descent of a mind from enthusiasm, via obsession, to something like madness; but their sketchiness serves merely to tell when they should show - can't the author manage (or be bothered?) to realise his ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Needs combining, cover, etc. 5 21 Oct 25, 2012 01:51PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Cold Comfort (Officer Gunnhilder #2)
  • Far North (Fire & Ice, #2)
  • Operation Napoleon
  • The Day is Dark (Þóra Guðmundsdóttir, #4)
  • Sail of Stone (Inspector Winter, #6)
  • Dregs (William Wisting, #6)
  • The Ambassador
  • The Inspector and Silence (Inspector Van Veeteren #5)
See similar books…
Viktor Arnar graduated with B.Sc in Civil Engineering from the Icelandic College of Engineering and Technology in 1983. In 1990 and 1995 he studied Communications, Publishing and Computer Graphics at the George Washington University in Washington DC. He started working for the Public Roads Administration in 1969, and has worked there full time since 1983. Since 1985 he has supervised all the insti ...more
“A wise man once said that if a book was not worth reading twice it was not worth reading once.” 4 likes
“A woman who might have been a good mother and a good grandmother, had not a quirk of nature put her in the wrong body many years ago....

What an ordeal, to have to conduct one's life in such deception, just to be able to live in peace with someone you love. Perhaps things will change on day, and people will be able to live the way they were created.”
More quotes…