Customer Reviews: 1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel
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on December 28, 2011
1222 is the eighth installment of Anne Holt's wildly popular (in Norway, that is) Hanne Wilhelmsen series. This is also the first of her books to be translated into English. The book was perfectly fine as a stand alone; however, having known that there were seven books prior to 1222, I really wish that I had been able to read them to get more insight into the main character, Hanne Wilhelmsen.

The premise of 1222 is that a train going from Oslo to Bergen in northern Norway derails during one of the most terrifying snow storms the area has ever seen. Of the 269 passengers, only the conductor loses his life. The accident occurs 1222 meters above sea level. The survivors are taken to a local hotel to await aid. During their stay, passengers are being murdered, and the retired paraplegic police detective Hanne begrudgingly tries to figure out what is happening.

I really loved this book. There was never a dull moment, and the interaction of the characters was very credible. If you think that this book is a rip-off of the Steig Larsson Millenium trilogy, that is certainly not the case. While Hanne's character is slightly similar to Lisbeth Salander, her withdrawn tendencies stem more from her paralysis on the job as opposed to more sociological issues. 1222 leans more towards being a classic mystery yet set in a modern time period, with nods to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and Roald Dahl's Lamb to the Slaughter. Both of those stories are some of my favorite writings, so I really enjoyed the references.

While I must admit that I became more fascinated with Scandinavian mysteries after reading the Millenium trilogy, I wasn't hoping for a copycat while reading 1222, which you definitely won't get. I look forward to the English translation of Blind Goddess, the first book of the Hanne Wilhelmsen series, to be released in June 2012.
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on December 27, 2011
I had never heard of Anne Holt before - she's described as Norway's #1 bestselling crime writer. After finishing her latest book 1222, I can see why - and I will be hunting down her backlist.

1222 features one of Holt's recurring characters - Hanne Wilhelmsen. Hanne is not a stereotypical protagonist. She's wheelchair bound, having been paralyzed from the waist down in a police shoot out four years ago. She's a lesbian, a loner and astute. Oh, and she really doesn't like people at all, even more so since her accident.

'It's having people close to me that I find difficult. I am interested in people, but I don't want people to be interested in me. A very taxing situation. At least it is if you surround yourself with friends and colleagues, and if you have to work in a team - as you do in the police. When I got shot and almost died, I ran out of strength. I was perfectly happy sitting there, all by myself."

Hanne is on a train to see a specialist about her paralysis. When the train derails in a snowstorm high above any settlement, the passengers are forced to take refuge in a hotel at the top of the mountain. Communication is cut off as the storm rages on. And someone else is full of rage as well - a clergy man is found shot. Hanne is recognized and reluctantly conscripted to the team that seems to be taking charge - a lawyer, a doctor, and the hotel manager. The storm is increasing in ferocity - and there's a murderer among them. And what about that extra car on the train - the one with armed guards?

I loved this book so much! The character of Hanne was different, not a by the numbers detective. She somewhat reminded me of Inger Ash Wolfe's Hazel Micallef character. Stubborn, sardonic, irascible and highly observant.

"Like other practised liars, he had stuck close to the truth. As a rule, it's the sensible thing to do, but Adrian had given me a piece of a jigsaw puzzle without realizing that I only needed a fragment of sky to sense the outline of the entire finished picture."

1222 has been likened to Agatha Christie's 'locked room' mysteries. The comparison is quite apt. Hanne herself notes "I thought about Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. I immediately tried to dismiss the thought. And Then There were None is a story that doesn't exactly have a happy ending."

Each chapter has a clever title page listing the Beaufort Scale, a wind rating that starts at one and rises to 12, ratcheting up as the tension increases in the hotel.

I truly had no idea who the murderer was until the very end. The hotel is populated with many possibilities. Indeed, the various characters are half the fun of this read. Hanne's unveiling of the perpetrator at the end and her reasoning were right there before me the whole time, but I hadn't seen it.

This was a five star read for me - and a perfect read for a blustery winter day.
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on January 30, 2012
The cover and blurb grabbed me straight away and it started out as a really promising novel. The main character is wheelchair bound and disgruntled though strangely likeable, which is helped by the first person storytelling.
About halfway through I found the storytelling reached a plateau. I didn't care about who died, there was no one in the hotel who was actively looking for them or mourning so there felt no sense of tension. I didn't feel any sense of danger for the remaining characters with a killer on the loose and I ended up just reading it because I don't like to leave books unfinished.
It was okay. I'd add another half star if I could.
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First Line: As it was only the train driver who died, you couldn't call it a disaster.

But Hanne Wilhelmsen would disagree with that assessment. The train she is traveling on derails in the mountains 1222 meters above sea level during a massive blizzard. Fortunately there is a nearby hotel. It's an old building and nearly empty except for the staff, but at least the passengers have someplace warm and dry to wait for rescue. No one knows exactly when that rescue will take place because no one is going anywhere while the blizzard is still raging.

With plenty of food and sheltered from the storm, the passengers believe they are safe and once the shock of the derailment wears off, they are almost in a holiday mood. When morning dawns, one of the passengers is found dead, and that feeling of safety vanishes like mist. Retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen, being the only person in the hotel remotely connected to law enforcement, is asked to investigate. She'd rather not, and she makes that plain. Paralyzed by a bullet lodged in her spine, Hanne has made it a habit to keep herself to herself. She wants no help, but she does want to be left alone. Unfortunately for her, her curiosity and natural talent for observation weren't paralyzed along with her legs.

Hanne begins to take an interest in the other passengers and their secrets. When another body turns up, she knows that time is running out. She has to act fast before panic sets in amongst the other passengers. Her investigation is complicated by a mysterious passenger who had been traveling in a private rail car at the end of the train and was evacuated first to the top floor of the hotel. No one knows the identity of this mystery guest or why there is a need for armed guards, but this is certainly making everyone nervous-- and nervous people can do unpredictable, dangerous things.

Hanne is trapped. Trapped by her wheelchair. Trapped by the blizzard. And trapped in an old hotel with a killer. Will time run out before she's able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together?

There's something about a "locked room" mystery involving a blizzard that I simply cannot resist, and although I never did completely warm up to the prickly Hanne, I did enjoy watching her observe everyone and piece clues together. The blizzard outdoors was a strong-willed character that had me looking for a heavy sweater and a warm pair of socks, and Holt populated the inside of the hotel with an interesting mix of people that were in turns exasperating and endearing.

One of the best things about locked room mysteries is the fact that they have very little to do with forensics and everything to do with observation and stimulating the little grey cells. Hanne mentions one thing she observed several times, but for some reason (perhaps because I was still looking for those socks) my little grey cells misfired and never deduced why that one thing was so important. I do like when that happens.

I also like the fact that, although this is the eighth mystery featuring Hanne Wilhelmsen, it didn't matter. This was my first experience of watching her in action, and I was never confused. Enough of her backstory is given so that Hanne is well and truly introduced to us all-- and that my interest was piqued enough to look for other books in the series.

If you're in the mood for a mystery in which observation rules over science, read Anne Holt's 1222.
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on March 12, 2012
At altitude 1222 meters above sea level, in a severe blizzard, a train on its way from Oslo to Bergen derails and kills the driver but spares the lives of the 269 passengers on board, including former policewoman Hanne Wilhelmsen. Hanne no longer works for the police department because in 2002 she was shot in the back and is now confined to a wheelchair. Hanne is observant and outspoken, but is very much a reclusive person in her private life.

All of the passengers are brought off the train and are taken to a very old hotel that is not far from the train wreck. There is no one there except the staff, but the hotel is well-stocked with food and beverage and plenty of clean rooms for the weary travelers, some of whom were injured in the derailment. Fortunately, there are several doctors on board the train who are able to help the injured.

Before the passengers were taken to the hotel, there was another group who were spirited away from a special car that was at the very end of the train. This group of people were assumed to be part of the royal family of Norway, and were taken to rooms on the top floor of the centuries-old hotel and did not go to the dining room for their meals nor did they leave their rooms at all. They remained a mystery to the rest of the passengers, and especially to Hanne Wilhelmsen. She had her own ideas about who they were.

Not long after the group had been in the old hotel, one of them turned up dead, and then another. If I didn't know that Anne Holt was the author of this book, I would have attributed it to Agatha Christie. It is very reminiscent of "And Then There Were None." These two will not be the only two murders and the group is going to be very on edge, because they know that the murderer is one of them. Hanne goes into her former policewoman mode and can't help but try to find out what is going on with these murders and knows that the killer is among them. Who to trust becomes a real issue.

This is a page-turner and an excellently written mystery. It is more in the classic mystery genre than any other, but this is the first of Holt's Hanne Wilhelmsen novels to be translated into English and it is the eigth in the series. The first in the series is to be released in English in June 2012 and I am very anxious to read it.

I loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries, loves Agatha Christie mysteries and classic mysteries. You can't go wrong with "1222."
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on May 9, 2012
I had never read a book by this fine author until "1222." I will continue to read her work, when it is available in English, in the future.

This was a gripping tale of a former disabled Norwegian police officer. Hanne Wilhelmsen was shot on duty and is now paralyzed below the waist. On her way to a medical appointment in the dead of winter, her train derails. Not only is Hanne injured, quite dramatically, to my opinion, she is pressed back into 'service' when a murder occurs within the first twelve hours of the 'hurricane' at elevation 1222.

The psychological, philosophical, and action packed novel kept my attention from the first paragraph onwards. I wasn't sure I even liked the protagonist, however, Hanne quickly grew on me. The dialog was well translated and lost none of it's impact.

This is not a cozy and it gives many political and sociological opinions as we meet the 296 persons trapped during the storm of the century in one large train station/hotel. It is a worthy read.
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on May 20, 2016
This is the 8th book in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series. I've only read one book before and I wasn't a fan: too political and boring for my taste. This one could be read as a standalone and, even if it's still very political, it is so much fun. After her train crashes in the mountains, Hanne gets stuck with the rest of the passengers in a hotel during a snow storm. There is a murder and many suspects. The survivors quickly form different groups that seem to reflect the Norwegian society: a right-wing xenophobe, the lost teenagers, the people who keep to themselves, the older crowd, the dog lovers (I know which gang I'd join)... There is also another mysterious group that may be part of the government and may be guarding a terrorist (or a member of the Royal Family, depending on who you ask). There are rumors, arguments and all-out fights. Hanne will have to figure out whodunit, before the weather breaks and they can be rescued. Again, I don't necessarily agree with Anne Holt's political views and yet, I was really into the plot. This shows how you can make a point and still keep your readers entertained. I must say that I didn't completely understand the ending, and it may be that I'm missing part of the backstory - so loyal readers will probably be rewarded more than the rest of us.
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VINE VOICEon September 5, 2012
1222 by Anne Holt
A train derails in northern Norway 1222 meters above sea level. The passengers are taken to a nearby hotel at the station they just left. There is a snowstorm that prevents rescue over several days. Among the rescued passengers is Hanne Wilhelmsen, a retired police investigator who is paraplegic after a bullet injured her spine years before. Hanne is soon faced with a mystery to solve as fellow passengers begin to die violently. Trapped in a hotel with a murderer on the loose heightens the tension.
Personally, I am not all that enthralled by the recent wave of Scandinavian detective novels. I find them to be nothing more than a knockoff of the British crime novels with little to offer in the sense of originality. The lone exception being the Steig Larssen novels which are unique more for the character of Lisbeth Sallander than anything else. This novel pays homage to Agatha Christie and even mentions the novel:
"Twenty-four hours ago, there were 269 people on board a train. Then we became 196. When two men died, we were 194. Now there are only 118 of us left.
I thought about Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. I immediately tried to dismiss the thought.
AND THEN THERE WAS NONE is a story that doesn't exactly have a happy ending."
This novel is no AND THEN THERE WAS NONE. Characters are too numerous to remotely know and to establish some semblance of a suspect list from the reader's viewpoint. There is virtually no editing and the novel drags on far longer than it has a right to. The ending when all is divulged is compelling but I could not help feeling I have been here before so many times with Dame Agatha. Anne Holt appears to be a remarkable person based on her biography including journalist, news anchor, lawyer and Norway's minister of justice. I am very impressed. Her novel is ok but I thought way too long and totally unoriginal.
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on March 11, 2016
Hanne is now in a wheel chair - and is on her way to a medical assessment, when her train derails in an isolated mountain resort in Norway. The blizzard storm of the century is in progress and the people on the train are stranded at a local hotel. Then a murder occurs. Those who know who Hanne is, recruit her assistance in the matter
There are several stories occurring -who was in the secret last coach car that was added to the back of the train and is now under heavy guard? Who would want to kill the priest who was found murdered in the deep snow? And then, a second murder occurs - the stranded survivors of the train accident are in chaos and terrified. Keeping people calm becomes a major concern
As I was reading the book, I became so engrossed in the story that I felt I was actually snowed in :)
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on January 11, 2012
The book opens with a train crash and ends with an Agatha Christie style denoument in which the protagonist Hanne Wilhelmsen , a retired police inspector reveals both the identity of the murderer and motive behind his/her deeds.
There is also a surprise twist at the very end regarding the myserious people who were the first to be taken off the train after the collision with a tunnel due to frozen tracks.
Hanne is a feisty character who has retired from the force following a shooting that left her paralysed and in a wheelchair.
She is extremely prickly, fiercely trying to retain her independence but forced to accept help from other occasionally. And boy, does she resent this!
Because of this she could easily be an unsympathetic characer but she possesses a dry sense of the ridiculous and this makes her a much more sympathetic character.
Like Ms Christies stories, at first, it is definietly a case of 'guess who will be murdered first'.
I had no idea whodunnit until the very end and this was not because the author'cheated' by withholding something vital from the reader, but because the story is cleverly plotted out.
Not only does Hanne solve the murder while confined to a wheelchair in a hotel during the worst winter storm in Norway for many years , she also learns something about herself and why she has been behaving the way she has since the shooting.
Apparently, although this is the first of Anne Holt's books to be translated into English, it is, in fact, number 8 in the series. But the story stands alone as a good read and nothing is lost by not having read the preceding books.
I devoured this story in one sitting and I'm looking forward to the next book very much.
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