Monday, 4 July 2016

1222 / Anne Holt

3.5 stars out of 5
1222 is the story of how a small group of people find themselves stuck in a hotel during an apocalyptic snow storm. Following a dramatic train derailment at Finse, the conflict between the survivors escalates while a furious hurricane threatens the unprotected village. Nobody is there to help, and there is no way out of the inferno for the survivors hiding out. On the first night at the hotel, a man is found shot and murdered. The victim is Cato Hammer, a priest known nation-wide for his ability – and desire – to get in the papers. Hanne Wilhelmsen, retired Inspector at the Oslo Police, is drawn into a race against time, a murderer, and the worst storm in the Norwegian alps on record. She loses the first round. Soon, another one of God’s servants is murdered, when an icicle cuts through his body…

A mystery more typical of Agatha Christie than most Scandinavian authors. In fact, Ms. Christie is mention several times and I think this novel is meant as an homage to her. It is a “closed room” mystery—although the surroundings are a hotel by a train station. The train has derailed and the passengers are rescued, all during a howling blizzard. The severity of the blizzard keeps everyone in place and inside. One by one, their numbers decrease, sometimes through natural causes, but also through unnatural events, i.e. murder.

The main character, Hanne, is a former policewoman. She is dependent on her wheelchair, she is curmudgeonly, she is a lesbian, and I liked her a lot.

Very enjoyable, even reading one-eyed with unfamiliar reading glasses! I seem to have started at novel number 8 of the series, but I could definitely be convinced to try more of Anne Holt’s work.

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