Author: Anne Holtz
Review: If you have ever heard the expression “a locked door mystery” and wondered what they were talking about, look no further than 1222. Here you have a Norwegian writer in her prime, with a great hero, a solid crime, and just enough red herring side characters to keep you guessing to the end. Who done it, and more importantly, who keeps doing it.
In a locked door mystery you have a controlled environment wherein the crime, investigators, and villain are all contained and cannot escape. A cruise ship would be a great example. The question that remains is can your hero find the killer before the villain finds them. And so the tension mounts all the way to the final showdown.
A medically retired police investigator is snowed in at a mountain resort after a train accident with the rest of her fellow passengers. Bitterly stuck in her wheelchair she desires to just be left alone, but the deaths keep coming and she does not have any choice. Of course as any group of strangers who are marooned together the paranoia escalates. Can she diffuse this powder keg before it blows, or will all be lost before the murderer can be found?
My favorite part is the confinement of the investigator. While the others have free run of the entire hotel, she is confined to the main floor lobby and other rooms (I guess Norway does not have the same handicap accessible regulations that we do). Also given she is retired she has no authority to question anyone. The whole mystery is solved apart from the actual crimes; it is solved through observation and deduction alone. And given that we the reader are also apart from the crime, the same clues are available to us to solve the crime too.
It’s amazing what we can learn form our environments if we to just listen. We all spend too much time trying to be heard and we rarely hear others. While we may never be Dr. Lightman, we would save ourselves a lot of heartache and misery if we just start paying attention to others.
A great mystery and a fantastic example of the style. Read this book.
Publisher: Published by Salomonsson Agency (first published June 6th 2008)
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why Did I Read this Book: Anne Holt is a master of the genre.
Where I Obtained the Book: My local library.
Synopsis: 1222 is the story of how a small group of people find themselves stuck in a hotel during an apocalyptic snow storm. Following a dramatic train derailment at Finse, the conflict between the survivors escalates while a furious hurricane threatens the unprotected village. Nobody is there to help, and there is no way out of the inferno for the survivors hiding out. On the first night at the hotel, a man is found shot and murdered. The victim is Cato Hammer, a priest known nation-wide for his ability – and desire – to get in the papers. Hanne Wilhelmsen, retired Inspector at the Oslo Police, is drawn into a race against time, a murderer, and the worst storm in the Norwegian alps on record. She loses the first round. Soon, another one of God’s servants is murdered, when an icicle cuts through his body…
Author Biography: Anne Holt was born in Larvik, grew up in Lillestrøm and Tromsø, and moved to Oslo in 1978. She graduated with a law degree from the University of Bergen in 1986, and went on to work for The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and then the Oslo Police Department, earning her right to practice as a lawyer in Norway. In 1990 she returned to NRK, where she worked one year as a journalist and anchor woman for the news program Dagsrevyen.
Holt started her own law practice in 1994, and served as Minister of Justice in Cabinet Jagland for a short period from November 25, 1996 to February 4, 1997.
In 1993 Holt made her debut as a novelist with the crime novel Blind gudinne, featuring the lesbian police officer Hanne Wilhelmsen. The two novels Løvens gap (1997) and Uten ekko (2000) are co-authored with former state secretary Berit Reiss-Andersen.
Holt is one of the most successful crime novelists in Norway. She has been published in 25 countries.