>> Monday, January 9, 2012
1222 by Anne Holt
Genre: Crime Fiction
Series: #8 in the Hanne Wilhelmses series (but also the first to be released in the US)
Publication Date: 2011
Source: Copy provided by publisher through NetGalley
The Short Version:
A Locked Room style mystery in which a group of people trapped in a hotel by a storm deal with the tension of their cabin fever as well as the unknown murderer in their midst.
Why I Read It:
The description of the book caught my eye and I jumped at the opportunity to read the first release from what sounded like my kind of series. This is actually the eighth book in a series originally published in Norway but it’s the first to be translated to English and released in the US.
The story opens with a train derailment high in the Norwegian mountains. Luckily only one person died in the derailment. Even luckier the accident happened close enough to a winter resort hotel that the passengers are able to have shelter there until while the worst storm in many years keeps them from being rescued. The 1222 of the title is the number of meters above sea level at which the hotel sits.
The dynamics of a varied mix of people in an isolated environment are always interesting. This situation gets complicated quickly when one of the passengers is found murdered in the snow outside the hotel. Retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is one of the passengers trapped in the hotel. Confined to a wheelchair she is unable to move freely about the hotel and among the passengers but her abilities to observe and read people are the key to investigating the murder.
When another body turns up, the tension rises and Hanne and her oddball group of confidantes turned into investigative assistants seek to identify the murder before anyone else dies.
I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to this series. I see that the first book is scheduled for US release this summer and I will definitely be watching for it.
Locked room mysteries are interesting and the added tension of a killer storm isolating survivors of a train derailment make this one have some added elements. While they wait for rescue the clashing personalities and the mystery of occupants of the last car keep the surviving passengers stress levels high despite their relatively comfortable and safe temporary lodgings.
Hanne Wilhemsen is a fun character. She freely admits that she’s not a likeable person. Her confinement to her wheelchair limit her freedom of movement in the hotel. She has to rely on her observational skills as well as some oddly intriguing assistants. A doctor who is a dwarf, a troubled teenager, and a hotel employee who turns out to be a worthy assistant all have a role in figuring out the multiple mysteries in this story.
Even though this is actually the eighth book in this series it was an enjoyable introduction to Hanne Wilhelmsen and I’m looking forward to the first book in the series when it’s available.