Wednesday, November 19, 2008


…that when shattered, a sheet of this brittle alloy will cleave into equilateral truligons, hence the name. Despite its delicacy, truligonium’s remarkable heat-retention property has made it a staple material for builders in Estonia’s colder regions. Its presence is often announced (especially in public buildings) by a wallpaper
pattern incorporating prominent truligons. This décor warns of the fragile component within the walls, but also assures that the room can maintain a safe level of warmth if heated by a government standard-issue stove unit. It is with this common knowledge that Lt. Mandrõkin locates, inside a wall, the corpse of the missing youth (chapter 32): Using a thermometer, he deduces that despite the wallpaper design, there is no truligonium insulation in one room of the engineer Närviarst’s bungalow — and so the details unravel of Närviarst’s murder and concealment of his crippled son.

Despite a decent premise, the thrills are few and the characters fairly flat, making A Cold Reception one of the weakest entries in Ulfsak’s Lt. Mandrõkin series.

From: Veronibeth Jenkins-Uusberg, “100 Years of Estonian Crime Fiction.” Yellow Spines Quarterly Review, vol. XLIV, no. 7 (Winter 1993): pp. 76.