Author – Gunnar Staalesen (translated by Don Bartlett)
Published – 2010 (2015 in translation)
Genre – Crime fiction
I read this title not long after reading The Writing on the Wall which was originally published in 1995 and in English translation in 2004. Here we’ve gone from the twelfth in the Varg Veum series to the eighteenth.
This book is set in 1998, with Veum sitting at the hospital bedside of his girlfriend Karin, recalling the events that have taken place over the previous week and led to her critical situation. The root of the story is Velum’s investigation of a missing wind-farm inspector. He is asked to find the man because he is the husband of Ranveig, an old friend of Karin’s. At the first meeting with Ranveig she is accompanied by a man called Bjorn Brekkhus – former Chief of Police for the area, family friend and coincidentally the man who lead the investigation into the disappearance of the missing man’s first wife some years before. Suspicious eh?
Most of the action centres around a wind-swept island where there are plans afoot to erect a wind farm which is attracting a great deal of interest as the opposing parties meet on the island. The remote location gives some added tension to the plot.
I’m someone who would always choose to read a series in order so the book is already at a disadvantage when there is a gap in the sequence of translations. The second issue which I assume is also due to the order of the translations is that this felt very similar to The Writing on the Wall – a private investigation where the person approaches Veum before the police. Although a common theme in ‘Scandi’ crime fiction the environmental slant feels a little dated now.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. You can see another point of view on the Crimepieces blog.