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.
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