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1222: Hanne Wilhelmsen Book Eight (A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel) Hardcover – December 27, 2011
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“Anne Holt is the Godmother of modern Norwegian crime fiction.”—Jo Nesbø
"A good old-fashioned murder mystery. Wherever Hanne shows up next, my advice is to follow that wheelchair."--Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
“It must be spooky in Scandinavia, but Holt, Norway’s best-selling female crime writer and a former minister of justice, has a goofy streak that changes the tone of this beguiling book….I really loved this snowbound book.”—Carolyn See, Washington Post
"A well-wrought, claustrophobic mystery...best served by the blizzard, roaring in the background while Hanne parses the swirl of rumors and snow piles inexorably against the windows."--Houston Chronicle
“It's a safe bet to say [Hanne Wilhelmsen] is a unique fictional creation, yet Holt makes her utterly believable. With her doubting internal dialogue and sharp wit, Wilhelmsen is neither too good, nor too bad and brooding to be true -- a nice find in the mystery world….Thanks to the sharp Wilhelmsen and an exceptional cast of characters, there's nothing cliché about Holt's take on this tried-and-true mystery genre.”—Cleveland Plains-Dealer
About the Author
Anne Holt is Norway’s bestselling female crime writer. She was a journalist and news anchor and spent two years working for the Oslo Police Department before founding her own law firm and serving as Norway’s Minister for Justice in 1996 and 1997. Her first novel was published in 1993 and her books have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold more than 7 million copies. Her novel 1222 was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in Oslo with her family.
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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 :)
The atmosphere is at first stunningly sober, i. e., “The rest of us just sat down in our Norwegian way, and turned into a little piece of Norway.” In the second and third days the group gets restless. Hanne, imprisoned in her wheelchair, is a cynic -- “I am allergic to the word ‘values.’” She discourses internally on a number of large topics, especially religion, as two of the murder victims and several fellow travelers are priests. Most of the time she is evaluating the situation and trying to understand just who is in the group, their true identities and possible motives. There is a secretive couple who may be Muslim and perhaps even the enemy. A lone passenger holds tight to his computer and it is thought he might be involved in illegal financial dealings. A scruffy runaway boy finds a Goth girl companion, and Hanne is intrigued, especially when he makes a list of the passengers and items they took off the train in extraordinarily beautiful handwriting. Gradually she makes friends with other obvious misfits.
Each chapter is define by a storm rating and a description of conditions outside and inside the hotel. Some of the best descriptions of snow and ice, literary gems, come near the end – and it is worth reading every word.
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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Probably won't get another.