Anne Holt, a Norwegian lawyer turned writer, was also Norway’s minister of justice for two years.
Her first book was published in 1993, and since then her work has been translated into 25 languages.
A. Holt was unknown in North America until now, but from this novel she may become one of the most successful writers. Her style reflects the `cool` Norwegian mannerisms and way of thinking.
Her `detective` Hanne Wilhelmsen, a former police officer paralysed from teh waist down in a police shoot out, is an astute observer, loner, and lesbian, living with a partner (professor of mathematics from a Middle Eastern country).
Travelling in winter from Oslo to Bergen to consult a specialist, the train derails in a snowstorm at 1222 meters above sea level necessitating the evacuation of all passengers and transporting them to a nearby hotel, that by sheer luck was empty, but fully staffed and stocked with food and beverages.
Slightly injured during the accident, she is homebound in a wheelchair, but still lucid and highly observant. During the stay in the hotel with close to 200 other travelling companions, two murders occur.
The author vividly describes how people change while stuck in a hotel for a few days. There is no shortage of food or beverage, but only very few begin to consume alcohol excessively even thought eh hotel manager indicates that she will not present a bill at the end of their stay.
Hanne solves the two murders thorough intense observation of a few suspects, until the police from a nearby attachment arrives by helicopters.
The fluidity of writing, and detailed descriptions of suspects and others are captivating, compelling the reader to continue page after page.
The book also reflects the way northern Europeans think and behave.
An excellent book to enjoy in front of a fireplace while sipping a cup of Darjeeling loose leaf tea, or a glass of Scotch or Canadian whisky, or should I say, an akvavit, a popular Scandinavian spirit.