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The Draining Lake

(Inspector Erlendur #6)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  11,351 ratings  ·  731 reviews
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Minotaur Books (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  11,351 ratings  ·  731 reviews

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Start your review of The Draining Lake (Inspector Erlendur #6)
Jim Fonseca
Another murder mystery from the northlands – Iceland this time. A skeleton is revealed when a lake is naturally drained due to an earthquake. The skeleton had been weighted down by Russian radio equipment. Who can it be? Our three Icelandic detectives start investigating people who disappeared around the time of the Cold War. It turns out that several Communist-leaning Icelandic students went to study in East Germany at that time, one of whom disappeared. So quite a bit of the story takes us bac ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nordic-noir, iceland
”’He went away, but all the same...he’ll never go away,’ she said with a sad smile playing across her lips.

‘I know,’ Erlendur said. ‘I know what you mean.’”

After an earthquake, a lake begins to disappear, revealing a skeleton with Cold War Russian technology wrapped around the neck to help it sink to the bottom of the lake bed and stay there. The pathologists determine that the skeleton is male and has been there since the 1960s. The Icelandic police department pulls all the missing person files
Kristine Brancolini
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Arnaldur Indridason is my new favorite mystery author. I'm reading about one book in the series each week and anticipating the next book in the series. I read other books, too, but I can't wait to get back to Indridason. The Draining Lake reminds me of Silence of the Grave in a number of ways -- all positive. This book features the discovery of a long-buried skeleton and the mystery reaches into Iceland's past. This time, the present connects to the Cold War, retelling the story of some Icelandi ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was quite boring.
Bonnie Brody
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am smitten with this Icelandic mystery series. Detective Erlandur is the most empathetic, eccentric and unique protagonist that I've met in a suspense novel. With his family baggage, his ever deepening interests in obscure aspects of a case, and steadfast honesty, he creates the backbone for Arnaldur Indridason's novels.

In this novel, the reader is first met with a skeleton discovered in a lake whose surface level has been shrinking over the years. It is determined that the skeleton is several
Nancy Oakes
The story behind Erlendur's Draining Lake investigation begins not with the discovery of bones in a lake bed, but in the 1950s in Leipzig. At that time it was part of the GDR, and students were being recruited to come to the university there to study. Some Icelandic socialist students were part of the recruitment effort -- but many discovered that there was a catch to their free education once they had been there for a while. Flashforward to the present, where a hydrologist examining a lake bed ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, i

In the wake of an earthquake, the water level of an Icelandic lake drops suddenly, revealing the skeleton of a man half-buried in its sandy bed. It is clear immediately that it has been there for many years. There is a large hole in the skull. Yet more mysteriously, a heavy communication device is attached to it, possibly some sort of radio transmitter, bearing inscriptions in Russian.

The police are called in and Erlendur, Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli begin their investigation, which gr
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't why I picked this book. Sometimes I walk past the library shelves in Fiction and just pick one up. If I like the cover (I know - so scientific), I'll read it.
So, begins why I had this book. It's written by an Icelandic writer, Arnaldur Indridason and it was translated into English. On my last horrid plane ride with one stop (3 hours that took 10 hours), I met a man from Iceland one a stopover in Phoenix - he and a friend were on their way to a dinner in Taos - he was Wiccan - He wore a l
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story, involves the cold war in E. Germany and betrayal that comes to light some 60 years earlier. Reminds me of a Henning Mankell novel. Erlendur is somewhat like Wallander.
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The un-charasmatic but always engaging Detective Erlandur works a cold case on an exposed volcanic lake bed identifying the remains of someone who might have been murdered years ago. Interestingly, the skeleton was wrapped in an obsolete Russian listening device. This very cold case finds Erlandur and Co. tracing socialist Icelandic students studying in the police state of East Germany in the post war period for possible connections. A very complex, dynamic plot structure kept me turning pages i ...more
Tanja Berg
Rating 2.5* out of 5. I knew this wasn't really my cup of tea when I picked it up. An old skeleton found at the bottom of a dried-out lake with leads to communist Germany a zillion years ago? It sounded like a sleeping pill, which it also turned out to be. The reason I picked it up and kept reading is that I'm quite enjoying this author and did not want to miss out on a book in the series, despite the fact that the themes presented weren't ones I relish.

Erlendur who investigates the cold-case m
Inspector Erlender solves them all. Mostly. A lot of red herrings in this one but really enjoyable. The mystery was solid, and the jumps back to the past took a little time to keep all of the characters straight, but ended up making the mystery richer. We also get more glimpses into his partners' lives and I liked that, too.

Erlender's personal life continues to take turns as well. Eva Lind can't seem to get her life together, no surprise there, but we understand her better. We finally get to mee
Tanuj Solanki
The Pleasures of Stodginess

this article, about Arnaldur Indriðason's Inspector Erlendur series of novels, first appeared in Business Line's Saturday supplement, BLink

It begins with the discovery of a corpse. A brooding detective, usually male, and with a shattered private life, gets on the case. He has a team of two or three, and they do the basic work of identifying the corpse. The forensic report is likely to be delayed. The investigation proceeds so slowly that it sometimes appears to be not
Ankit Agrawal
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, scandinavia
I had read somewhere that Iceland has the highest ratio of number of books read per person than any other country in the world and also that every 1 of 10 Icelanders go on to become a writer or a poet. I seriously don't know whether that is true or not but it seriously itched me to read something from Iceland. I wondered despite of the low population in Iceland if there are so many writers and so many books read why haven't we seen any great write or great books emerging from the country. The pr ...more
Jan 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Ben Bernanke
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Velma Gaines-Hamock
Arnaldur Indriðason is the poor man's Henning Mankell. And sometimes that's not saying much, because sometimes Mankell doesn't live up to Mankell. I wish Arnaldur would give more descriptive flavor of Iceland; if these books were my only exposure to it, I would have little idea what it looked or felt like. I would think it was a place full of dour, brooding people, delicious svið (singed and boiled sheep's head), and junkies, rather than a wonderland full of glaciers, cured ram scrota, and Björk ...more
The book has the police, murder, mystery and a lot about Icelandic communists during the cold war.
The murder is solved by a lot of assumptions and gut-feelings with no real clues. The extended parts of Icelandic students studying Leipzig could have been so much shorter. Not enough in this book to make we want to read anymore in this series.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
PROTAGONIST: Erlendur Sveinsson, Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli
SETTING: Iceland
RATING: 4.25
WHY: A hydrologist makes an unnerving discovery at a local lake that has been draining rapidly. She finds an old skeleton with a hole in the skull. Erlendur Sveinsson, Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli are assigned to investigate and discover who died. There’s a long history going back to Communist East Germany in the 1950s, where young Icelandic socialists are provided Soviet scholarships to the University o
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been ill lately and have turned to mysteries. I'd forgotten how satisfying and emotionally compelling they can be when written by a master like Camilleri or Dibden, Mankel or Arnaldur Indridason.

Mr. A.I. is different from the others I listed. For one thing, his environment is considerably more bleak, and his characters (even the brash Sigurdur Oli) seem more isolated, more prone to unhappiness. Also, on a less serious note, food and drink do not have a role in this book. I note, though, t

5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding author-an outstanding series and then some., April 2, 2014

This review is from: The Draining Lake: An Inspector Erlendur Novel (An Inspector Erlendur Series)
5 stars -The Draining lake.

This author does not appear to be running out of gas or burning out on this series anytime soon.

This is Inspector Erlendur at his best. Unraveling a decades old mystery of a skeleton found in a drained lake. But is it as simple as all that??? Of course not! This mystery goes back
May 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, iceland
Compared to the earlier novels in the Erlendur Sveinsson series, The Draining Lake was a bit of a disappointment. What I liked most about the previous novels by Arnaldur Indriðason were the scenes set in Iceland. In The Draining Lake, it seems that some 40% of the scenes belong to an involved backstory set in East Germany in 1955-56.

A hydrologists investigating a lake whose water is draining off due to a seismic disturbance finds a human skeleton attached to some old Soviet radio equipment. Poli
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having never read this author before, I was new to Inspector Erlendur. As this is book number 6, you would think I had little context. NOPE!

In fact, I almost gave this book a five in my enjoyment and in its complexity of the historical, on top of it being a breathless, EXCITING, read as a stand alone. Because I have been to East Berlin and East Germany when it was so directed (1983), I was enthralled by the research and record here, quite beyond that of the storyline. Because it truly was exactl
Sid Nuncius
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a very engrossing and enjoyable book. It is the first of Indridasson's I have read, and I will be looking out for others by him.

Indridasson writes very well in a low-key style which I liked very much, and the characters are very well-drawn. The translation is excellent. There is no overblown prose or breathless descriptions of implausibly violent events, but the atmosphere and sense of place, both in present-day Iceland and in 1950s East Germany is exceptionally well evoked an
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to enjoy the Erlendur series. I'm fond of these Nordic cops who are loners, depressive at times, but sympathetic characters nevertheless. This tale was a bit different from Indridason's previous-- a more retrospective novel, but engaging in its own way. The ending felt a bit flat to me-- rather anticlimactic-- hence the 4 rather than 5 stars.
Berit Lundqvist
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Three and a half stars, rounded up.

The water level in lake Kleifarvatn drops suddenly. On the bottom, tied to Russian spy equipment, a body of an unkonwn man is found. The skeleton is old, and everything points at it is the result of a crime committed during the cold war.

Erlendur and his collegues try to solve the mystery. In paralell, we’re told a completely different story about a young Icelandic student in East Germany during the 50’s. The events from two different eras are merged into a stor
A Man Called Ove
“Socialism makes it bearable for us to live under capitalism.”
This book was more about how Communist countries functioned than a mystery. A skeleton dating to 1960s turns up in a draining lake and investigation leads it to idealist Icelandic students who were studying in East Germany. For seasoned readers, there was nothing new in this description of communism and infact it killed the police procedural.
The investigation wasnt great either anyways and while Indridason has been compared to Mankell
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good book, but not my favorite in the Erlandur series. A little too much socialism/politics, but it was good, just not great, like all his other books I've read so far. Onward, with the next in the series!
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves Scandinavian mysteries
Arnaldur Indriðason's mysteries form an armature for the lives of his characters, particularly for Erlendur Sveinsson the lead detective. An acrimonious divorce separated him from his family when his two children were very young. Eva Lind and Sindri, the children, are now adults, and their relationship with him is troubled, a tug of war between longing for connection and angry rejection. Eva Lind is a relapsed drug addict. Sindri is a recovering alcoholic who randomly drifts into Erlendur's life ...more
An earthquake near an Icelandic lake causes part of the lake to drain and a skeleton is discovered attached to some Soviet listening devices, presumably dating from the Cold War.. Detective Erlendur Sveinsson (The Jar City) has his own problems with a daughter constantly getting into trouble, a son who resents his aloofness, and his own periodic and obsessive search for a brother gone missing many years before in a snowstorm. He and his colleagues try to track down the identity of the dead man, ...more
Friederike Knabe
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-lit
Since the Berlin Wall fell twenty years ago, many cold war secrets have come to light on both sides of the "Iron Curtain". Iceland, remote and politically "not a very interesting place" according to the locals, has apparently been drawn into some murky business left over from those days. Juxtaposing two streams of narrative - a present-day investigation into an unsolved disappearance from the seventies and a flashback account into student life in Leipzig in the mid-1950s, Arnaldur Indridason pre ...more
M.J. Fiori
As the water recedes from the center of an Icelandic lake, a body is revealed ... and long-dead secrets from the era of European Communism begin to emerge as well. Erlendur (the failed family/incisive detective) and his colleagues, Sigurdur Oli (the young buck) and Elinborg (the lady detective with an interest in culinary matters) take on the case, which has its roots in the now defunct East Germany, over half a century ago ...

The second book I read from this Icelandic detective series, The Drai
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Arnaldur Indriðason has the rare distinction of having won the Nordic Crime Novel Prize two years running. He is also the winner of the highly respected and world famous CWA Gold Dagger Award for the top crime novel of the year in the English language, Silence of the Grave.

Arnaldur’s novels have sold over 14 million copies worldwide, in 40 languages, and have won numerous well-respected prizes an

Other books in the series

Inspector Erlendur (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Menschensöhne (Kommissar Erlendur, #1)
  • Dauðarósir (Inspector Erlendur #2)
  • Jar City (Inspector Erlendur, #3)
  • Silence of the Grave (Inspector Erlendur #4)
  • Voices (Inspector Erlendur #5)
  • Arctic Chill (Inspector Erlendur #7)
  • Hypothermia (Inspector Erlendur #8)
  • Outrage (Inspector Erlendur #9)
  • Black Skies (Inspector Erlendur, #10)
  • Furðustrandir (Inspector Erlendur #11)

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“It’s socialism that makes it bearable for us to live under capitalism.” 1 likes
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