Arnaldur and Erlendur

We were going to entitle this a Ruthian moment but we did not want to confuse folks into thinking this is a baseball post because this is a book review.  The Draining Lake (TDL) by Arnaldur Indridason is an epic book.  We suspect he thinks of himself as Arnaldur but to find it you will need to have the patronymic Indridason.

Sidebar: In 1919 Babe Ruth set the MLB record for home runs with 29.  That was impressive as it was the most ever.  But 1920 was a Ruthian moment when he hit an astounding 54 home runs.  The MLB runner up had 19.  Arnaldur’s TDL is his Ruthian moment.  The other books were really good but TDL is a Ruthian step up for him.  End Sidebar.

We had read four of the Inspector Erlendur books, one out of order, and the stand alone Operation Napoleon.  We enjoyed all of them but were taken aback by the power of TDL.  It weaves together the story of Inspector Erlendur with the insidious impact of Communism.  As often happens, Erlendur is connected with an old missing persons case.  This time he is trying to identify a body exposed by the draining lake.  It connects the Iron Curtain, especially East Germany, with Iceland and the Cold War.

It does a brilliant job of showing the impact of Communism.  It gives us vivid specific cases as well as the overall data.  What makes it extraordinary, Ruthian, is that it tells us why Communism and socialism is so popular despite its long history of failure.  It is a book that everyone should read today.

Auditing Opportunity

Kevin Williamson shows that not every forensic scientist is Abby Scuito.  His article provides a great opportunity for audit firms.  Folks often think that auditing only applies to financial records but as Dictionary.com recognizes, financial records are just the most common example:

an official examination and verification of accounts and records, especially of financial accounts.

Comparing compliance with expected standards and giving an opinion is what auditing firms do.  They commonly do it for financial statements and internal control.  Compliance with standards of criminal investigation would only be a small step for them.  It makes sense that if we need external audits of financial statements then external audits of matters of life and death are a reasonable step.  The audit firms understand risk assessment, e.g., let’s audit all the murder cases and fewer less serious charges, internal control, and sampling that would lead to an effective audit of criminal investigation processes.

Audited financial statements provide reliable information for investors.  Audited criminal investigation processes would provide reliable information for jurors and help ferret out the problems that Kevin reports quickly.  There are details to be worked out on the extent of the engagement but experience will provide the solutions.  Why not try it now?