More compelling fare from the ever-reliable Quentin Bates, one of the best British practitioners of Scandicrime. Cold Steal starts with a businessman assassinated in his summerhouse in the Icelandic countryside. Gunnhildur is part of the investigation and told to look into the dead man’s background and business affairs. This investigation means that the long task of tracking down an exceptionally skilled and careful housebreaker who has been a thorn in the side of the police for months is shelved. In the meantime, the housebreaker continues his hobby until he breaks into a house one night and finds himself against far more than he bargained for – people far more ruthless than he is who feel they can use his skills for their own ends.

No spoilers here, though it might be said that one of the dead man’s business partners disappears and the investigation broadens to find out where he went, while his wife seems unnervingly unworried about his disappearance. Does it all fit together somehow? Of course it does, but Gunnhildur has to deal with some unpleasant local criminals as well as some imported ones to get to the bottom of it all, as she eventually does. Bates on cracking form.

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