Review: 1222


By Anne Holt
(Scribner, Paperback, 9781451634723, August 2012, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

A mystery that will hold you captive. Preferably, under a blanket with a cup of something warm to keep you company.

The Rest of It:

During what is quite possibly the worst snowstorm ever, a train on its way to Bergen, Norway derails at a point about 1222 meters above sea level. The passengers are taken to a nearby hotel where they are given food and shelter but they find themselves trapped as the weather continues to worsen.

One of the passengers, Hanne Wilhelmsen, a retired police investigator notices something odd. That the passenger/s from the private rail car are nowhere to be seen. She hears from the other guests that  they were taken to a different section of the hotel. Who are they? Why are they being kept separate from the other guests?

As if things could get any worse, a body is discovered. First one, then two. Since Hanne is the only person with any kind of investigative experience, she is enlisted to help solve the crime even though she has no desire to do so. Years ago she was paralyzed from the waist down by a bullet to the spine making it somewhat difficult to get around but her observation skills if anything improved, making her the perfect storyteller for this “locked door” mystery.

This is the 8th book in the Wilhelmsen series but the first for me and I never felt lost or out of the loop. Holt manages to give you just enough of a back story to feel comfortable,without rehashing Hanne’s entire life.  The pacing is pretty good too considering its limited setting. The personal observations of Hanne were both critical  as well as entertaining and often times funny.

This was an enjoyable read. I don’t read mystery or crime fiction too often but this one was especially fun. Mainly because of the “locked door” nature of the story. Being trapped in a hotel with a bunch of strangers, stuck in a wheelchair with a killer running about, makes for good reading. I can’t deny it.

I take comfort in knowing that there are seven other books in the series  for me to dip into. Also, my other love (Jo Nesbo) calls Holt the “godmother of modern Norwegian crime fiction.”  I’d say that’s pretty impressive.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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23 Responses

  1. this is a new to me series of books and already 8 of them…woah.

    • I know and I think she’s written other books outside of the series too. I am always amazed when I find a new author with so many books under his/her belt that I’ve never read or heard of before.

  2. A “locked door” mystery is always fun!

  3. I liked the “locked door” part but I just couldn’t warm up (so to speak) to Hanne!

    • Hanne is a little cold but I liked that. It fit, given the situation. A roomful of strangers and all. Not everyone can be the life of the party you know?

  4. The “locked door” aspect sounds like fun and reminds me of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I should read mysteries more often!

  5. I have this book, and have been waiting for the winter to come so that I could properly enjoy it. It’s good to hear that the locked door aspects are so wonderful. I think I might end up really liking this one.

  6. I love mysteries. This one sounds like a winner.

  7. The premise of this book sounds really good! I will definitely be looking for this one! I like the fact that even though you haven’t read the previous books in the series, it didn’t leave you feeling disconnected. Great review Ti!!

  8. Lovely review! I have her second one but I really want to read this one first!

  9. I’m a little torn on this one. Quite a number of people really did not get invested in this one…maybe because all that character development that we’ve missed out on in the previous novels? I would love to hear WHY they decided that this was the book they would translate first. I don’t get it. I’m a little picky about my murder mysteries too, so jury is still out.

    • I sort of like my police investigators to be cold and detached so maybe that is why I didn’t mind Hanne. Jill said she couldn’t get into her. I don’t read crime fiction too often so maybe it was the right book at the right time. I was coming off of American Psycho so who knows??

  10. I can’t wait to read this book. Any book endorsed by Jo Nesbo is on my must read list!

  11. Can I just say, I need to try this book. I am totally addicted to stories that take place, at least in part, in hotels –weird I know.

  12. It seems an intriguing premise. And I love Norway so what’s not to like!

  13. Kind of sounds like a bad horror movie but a good book! I haven’t ever heard of the author either. Maybe i will read this one and then start at the beginning if the series if its good!

  14. You have a Norwegian theme to your reading lately? Need to go read your Geye post…

  15. What is up with all of these fantastically creepy Norwegian/ Scandinavian/Swedish crime writers lately? Of course, it’s all brand new for me in the past couple of years, and, MAN, do I love it. I need to read more right NOW. As soon as I’m done with The Twelve.

  16. I need to read all of the Nesbo books I have and then maybe try this author!!

  17. I do like “locked door” mysteries … you don’t have to worry about the murderer appearing out of left field.

  18. Locked door mysteries are so much fun! This sounds great!

  19. […] 56. The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye 57. The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister 58. 1222 by Anne Holt 59. Because You Have To by Joan Frank 60. Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth […]

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