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1222 by Anne Holt

1222 (2007)

by Anne Holt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hanne Wilhelmsen (8)

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English (38)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I listened to this and there's a lot to like. It is set in a snowbound hotel to which the passengers of a train are transferred after a crash in a storm on the Oslo-Bergen trainline. Which makes it certainly unusual, if nothing else. It also turns out to be the 8th in a series, of which this is the first I've read, but I certainly didn't feel I'd missed anything not having read the earlier books. The central character is Hanna Willemsen, and she narrates this. She's an ex police officer who was shot in the back and is now paralysed from the waist down. She's also rather grumpy, anti social, and has a lesbian muslim lover. Which, again, is somewhat unusual. She's also quite aware that she's grumpy, antisocial and inclined to be brusk, rude and less than communicative, which at least gives her an air of humanity that the is more appealing than the veneers she presents to the world is. The cast of characters is equally varied, with some religious people, some divisive characters, a runaway, families, a murderer, the works, really. There is also an additional carriage with police escort and lots of speculation. It's inventive, varied, neatly done and I really liked the way each chapter is prefaced with the description of the Beaufort scale, from calm to hurricane. It's an effective mystery and it works really well. ( )
  Helenliz | Oct 6, 2015 |
Quite enjoyable. Unusual central character. Was it meant to be Osama Bin Laden at the end? Interesting read but won't rush to read anymore. ( )
  infjsarah | Sep 5, 2015 |
Retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is on the train riding to see a specialist about the paralysis that keeps her wheelchair bound when the train derails. One thousand two hundred and twenty two meters above sea level the survivors are evacuated to nearby, centuries old hotel. Despite the ever-increasing blizzard outside the passengers have shelter, warmth and an abundance of food. Everything one could ask for under the circumstances. Until, the next morning, one of them is discovered dead. With the help of a height challenged doctor Hanne reluctantly starts an investigation into the murder. Soon enough another body is found, as is the existence of a mysterious traveler residing on the top floor of the hotel, surrounded by armed guards. The book has been called a locked room mystery and Hanne herself compares her situation to “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie although quickly dismissing the thought since Ms. Christie’s novel “doesn’t exactly have a happy ending”.

I liked Hanne Wilhelmsen. She is an unusual character. She is smart, resourceful, anti-social, sharp tongued and stubborn. I also enjoyed the book, and found the comparisons to Ms. Christie, if they were intended as compliments, to be well deserved. It was fun to read a crime story that is solved through resourcefulness, intelligence, observation and deduction. If you decide to read this book – read carefully! Clues are dropped constantly and this reader missed the significance of them all. Despite the fact that I greatly enjoyed this book, it is #8 in a series (there was absolutely no problem in keeping up with characters and story), so I have not decided if I will be picking up another.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Okay, let me begin at the beginning. I picked up this book because so many folks were raving about this 'Scandinavian Phenomena'. I had huge expectations.

This book reads like a whodunit play: a little Agatha Christie, a little Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and a little Murder She Wrote. We find our protagonist, Hanne, wheelchair bound on a train. Within the opening pages, the train suffers and accident, and the occupants are forced to spend a protracted period of time snowbound in a hotel in the middle of nowhere.

As time elapses, two murders, as well as a strange death, occur. That's the plot in a nutshell.

Here's what I liked: I got to see things through a Scandinavian's eyes, including what others think of America from an unbiased point of view.. I learned something about their culture and phonetics. It wasn't terrible. Magnus, the little-person physician was keen.

Here's what I didn't care for: Hanne is a friggin' bitchy ice queen who makes Martha Stewart look like Mother Teresa. The story was hard to follow. I'm sure there were some 'red herring' moments, but I couldn't parse the damn things out to save my life. I felt like the plot was beyond loose, and I felt unfulfilled with the ending, especially with the 'reveal' of the 'secret' that had been rumored throughout the book.

For my money? I don't get the draw. I can't really recommend this one, but I will try another of her works, since I have a first English printing/edition of "What is Mine" in the hoard, somewhere. Perhaps that one will bring me into the fold. Perhaps... ( )
  HeathDAlberts | Sep 14, 2014 |
This is a classic locked room mystery á la Agatha Christie. A train derails in northern Norway at 1222 metres above sea level. The 269 passengers are given shelter in an old hotel. Because of a ferocious blizzard, they are stranded there. As expected, a murder occurs . . . and a second one too. Hanne Wilhelmsen, a retired police inspector, reluctantly leads an investigation until help can arrive.

Hanne is not a typical detective. She is wheelchair-bound paraplegic after a shooting in the line of duty years earlier. She is also a middle-aged lesbian married to a Muslim. To describe her as abrasive and anti-social seems almost an understatement; early on, she states, “I am interested in people, but I don’t want people to be interested in me.” Because of “many years of self-imposed isolation,” Hanne has difficulty when placed in this situation where she has to work with others. Her sidekicks are the female hotel manager, a dwarf doctor, and an outdoorsman lawyer.

Anne Holt is a very popular Norwegian mystery writer, but I didn’t find myself that impressed. Despite the number of passengers, the list of possible suspects is quickly narrowed. Since only a handful of people are differentiated, it is obvious that the suspect is to be found in that small group. Then, when important information is about to be given to her, she is interrupted: “When I think back, I can see that lives could probably have been saved if the boy hadn’t come along and interrupted Roar Hanson’s incoherent story.” The dénouement, where everyone is present for the great reveal, feels contrived. She herself admits that the way in which the murderer is revealed is “far from normal procedure . . . [and] probably wasn’t even legal.” The identity of the murderer is not a great surprise, but there are problems in how the second murder is committed, problems which are not satisfactorily addressed.

There is a minor sub-plot about mysterious passengers who travelled in a separate rail car and are housed in a separate section of the hotel under armed guard. This sub-plot serves little purpose other than as a distraction. The novel ends with a suggestion as to the identity of one of these travelers, a suggestion that is totally unbelievable. Hanne repeats, “I couldn’t have seen what I thought I saw. It couldn’t be him” and “I couldn’t get my head around what I had just seen” and “I was not blind, but it was impossible to believe what I knew I had just seen” so how is the reader supposed to feel?!

The author seems to strive to write satire aimed at Norwegians. There are statements such as “The rest of us just sat down in our Norwegian way, and turned into a little piece of Norway. Which, when I thought about it, was bound to lead to a crime sooner or later” and “We really were an ungrateful lot. We really were Norwegians, the majority of us.” Unfortunately, such comments do not translate well for a North American audience. Similarly what does not translate well from the Norwegian is the dialogue; many conversations are awkward and disjointed because the subject changes without explanation.

This is the eighth Hanne Wilhelmsen novel, though the first to be translated into English. Others are now going to be translated, but anyone who has read this one will find spoilers for some of Hanne’s earlier cases. I have not been sufficiently intrigued by this book to read others in the series. ( )
  Schatje | Apr 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
It might lack the myriad twists and turns of Christie at her best, but 1222 is a splendidly chilling read this icy December.

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Holtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Manninen, SannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is a little bit serious and a lot of fun, Iohanne.
That's why it's my first little book for you.
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As it was only the train driver who died, you couldn't call it a disaster.
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Book description
From Norway's bestselling female crime writer comes a suspenseful locked-room mystery set in an isolated hotel in Norway, where guests stranded during a monumental snowstorm start turning up dead.

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.

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Follows the experiences of travelers who are stranded by a blizzard in a decrepit hotel where one of their number begins killing off the rest.

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