1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel by Anne Holt

By Anne Holt
Scribner, $25.00

 Here's the publisher's synopsis:

A TRAIN ON ITS WAY to the northern reaches of Norway derails during a massive blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers abandon the train for a nearby hotel, centuries-old and practically empty, except for the staff. With plenty of food and shelter from the storm, the passengers think they are safe, until one of them is found dead the next morning.
With no sign of rescue, and the storm continuing to rage, retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is asked to investigate. Paralysed by a bullet lodged in her spine, Hanne has no desire to get involved. But she is slowly coaxed back into her old habits as her curiosity and natural talent for observation force her to take an interest in the passengers and their secrets. When another body turns up, Hanne realizes that time is running out, and she must act fast before panic takes over. Complicating things is the presence of a mysterious guest, who had travelled in a private rail car at the end of the train and was evacuated first to the top floor of the hotel. No one knows who the guest is, or why armed guards are needed, but it is making everyone uneasy. Hanne has her suspicions, but she keeps them to herself.
Trapped in her wheelchair, trapped by the storm, and now trapped with a killer, Hanne must fit the pieces of the puzzle together before the killer strikes again.

Anne Holt's 1222 is a book that I almost didn't get to review, I had been sent an e-galley from the nice folks over at Simon and Schuster but it timed out before I could get it read.  So, I wandered over to the store and grabbed a copy. I really wanted to read this as its the locked room, Agatha Christie kind of murder story that I just love. I am so glad that I did read it!  

I've never read any of Anne Holt's books before but the quirky, cranky, wheel chair riding loner of a former police inspector,the character of Hanne Wilhelmsen had me intrigued on the flyleaf.  Author Anne Holt had me hooked on the first page.  Now I have to hunt up her previous books.  

Hanne is a hard woman to like, but the character is written in such a fine way that you have to stick with her, to see how Holt winds the story and twists her plots. While it is translated into English from Norwegian, the story doesn't lose any suspense and for once, I couldn't find any awkward wordings. 

Red Herrings are everywhere and once Hanne decides to get involved in the situation the story really takes off.   There's a lot of background about the character that I thought might be unnecessary, but that's just me, we get it that Hanne's not a happy camper and really can't stand people.  But she's a brilliantly angry detective, it's a joy to "watch" her put the puzzle together. 

1222 is a first class murder mystery. You've read the synopsis, you've read my thoughts. I never want to give anything away, so I kept them to the point, I hope you read it.  I hope you enjoy it.  I did! 

I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

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