Laura de Leon's Reviews > 1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel

1222 by Anne Holt
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Aug 27, 12

bookshelves: mystery, translation, review-copy
Read from August 17 to 21, 2012

This book is my first encounter with author Anne Holt and her detective Hanne Wilhelmsen, but I very much hope it won't be my last.

Hands down, the best part of this book was Hanne, the so-crusty-she-doesn't-even-seem-to-like-people detective. She's just so interesting about it!

The characters remind me somewhat of those in Laurie R. King's Kate Martinelli books. There are a few surface similarities (a lesbian cop, for one) and many, many more differences. But what really strikes me with both is the richness of the entire world of characters.

Too often, quirky and unusual characters, particularly secondary ones, are one dimensional, existing only for their quirks. These people felt real, and gave Hanne a chance to grow just by interacting with them.

For me, the setting was another part of the appeal. Snowed in!!! That's not something a California Girl like me is familiar with, but even beyond that, I appreciated the Norwegian feel to the book.

And there there was the mystery (or mysteries, as the case may be). You don't get more of a locked room than this, with a major snowstorm cutting off all communication. The first body doesn't worry Hanne too much, which amused me. But after that... How do you investigate a crime without panicking a building full of people with nowhere to go... Hanne manages (almost against her will) to puzzle her way through.

As I mentioned, I wasn't familiar with this author, and I think this might be her first book released in the US. It was odd to realize that it is actually the 8th book in the series. This occasionally showed in small references to what I assume were characters and events from other books.

However, I loved the reveal of Hanne's character over the course of this book. I wonder how it would have played to someone already familiar with the character-- how much of it was new, how much would have been a rehash.

I'm nervous about starting this series at the beginning. I like Hanne at this point of her journey, I'm not sure I'll enjoy the path here as much. I'm planning to find out.
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