Smilla Qaaviqaaq Jaspersen is the daughter of a Danish doctor and an Inuit woman from Greenland. Raised in Greenland, she lives in Copenhagen and, as befits her ancestry, is an expert on snow. When one of her few friends, an Inuit boy, dies under mysterious circumstances, she refuses to believe it was an accident.
She decides to investigate and discovers that even the police don't want her involved. But Smilla persists, and as snow-covered Copenhagen settles down for a quiet Christmas, Smilla's investigation leads her from a fanatically religious accountant, to a tough-talking pathologist, to the secret files of the Danish company responsible for extracting most of Greenland's mineral wealth. Finally, she boards a ship with an international cast of villains - and a large stash of cocaine - bound for a mysterious mission on an inhospitable island off Greenland.
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