This murder mystery/thriller takes place between Denmark and Greenland. Six year old Isaiah leaps to his death from the roof of the apartment building in which he lives with his mother. Smilla Jaspersen, who lives in the same building and has come to love the little boy as her own, does not believe Isaiah would go willingly on the roof as he's very afraid of heights. Although there is only one set of footprints on the roof, she still suspects foul play as supported by her "reading" of the footprints. Her investigations begin in Copenhagen, but eventually lead to an adventure on an ice breaking ship and then to an island in the northern part of Greenland and a very surprising, almost sci-fi ending. The motive of her initial investigation lies in the kindred spirit she shares with Isaiah, both having been born in Greenland and then brought to Copenhagen after a parent died. But as she learns more, the more intent she is to find the real answer behind this boy's death.
I highly recommend this book, not only does it have a unique insight into the relationships of the Danes and Greenlanders, but it's a real page turner. I've seen the movie and it is fairly true to the book - but as per usual, the movie is not as in depth nor as detailed. Read the book first, then rent the movie for the scenery!