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1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel (Hanne…
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1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel (Hanne Wilhelmsen Novels) (original 2007; edition 2012)

by Anne Holt

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Title:1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel (Hanne Wilhelmsen Novels)
Authors:Anne Holt
Info:Scribner (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
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1222 by Anne Holt (2007)

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English (35)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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 |
Hanne Wilhelmsen becomes involved in a case involving a train accident leaving the passengers stranded in a Norwegian hotel during a storm. The passengers begin to be murdered and she is brought into the case against her will.
I do enjoy the plot of this story. I realize this is a series and I will now go back and start from the beginning. I am sure there is so back story, but it doesn't seem to make a difference to have started here. There are current political events tied into the plot. The only problem I have is the character is ever so bitter since an accident she has had. I don't know if she was like that before the accident, but now I get to go and read about it! ( )
  FMRox | Oct 1, 2013 |
Hanne Wilhelmsen is one of nearly 200 passengers on a Norwegian train when it wrecks during a blizzard. The good news is that the wreck is near a station with a hotel large enough to feed and shelter the passengers until the storm lets up and help arrives. The first night, one of the passenger/guests is murdered. Then another one is murdered. Hanne, a former police officer, is already wheelchair bound and has been further injured during the accident. She must fight the shock from her injury and lack of sleep to observe the behavior of her fellow passengers and pick out the murderer among them. Do the murders have anything to do with the mysterious passengers from the private car at the end of the train?

Hanne is antisocial and prefers to avoid contact and conversations with other people. She reluctantly becomes involved in the murder investigation when she realizes that the hotel is cut off from outside help and she knows what needs to be done from experience and training. Hanne's disability keeps her from exploring other parts of the hotel, so the narration is limited to her thoughts and her conversations with others. The pace sometimes seems sluggish. Maybe that's intentional, since time does seem to move more slowly after a heavy snowfall. While there were things I enjoyed about the book, I didn't much like Hanne so I don't think I'll be seeking out any more books in this series. ( )
  cbl_tn | Aug 5, 2013 |
This book had alot of potential but fell a bit flat for me. A thriller set in a legendary snowstorm in Norway where survivors from a train crash begin to dwindle in numbers and the snow rages outside. Anticlimactic and not enough payoff at the end. ( )
  nbermudez | May 9, 2013 |
So you're on a train in Norway in the winter, heading north through a blizzard when the train derails. There is bad news and good news. The bad news is that you're in Norway in a blizzard in a wrecked train. The good news is that only one person has been killed in the accident and, miraculously, you're very near a large resort hotel that is able to accommodate everyone in comfort while you're waiting out the storm.

People are people, though, so not everybody focuses on the positive. Cliques immediately form in the hotel and hostilities erupt when an ultra-nationalist woman named Kari Thue hurls epithets against a Kurdish couple, and some young people are nasty to a member of a church group. Observing it all with her (retired) police detective's eye is Hanne Wilhelmsen. Hanne is in a wheelchair, having been shot and paralyzed on the job.

Soon, guests begin being murdered and Hanne is dragged, figuratively kicking and screaming, into an investigation. The storm rages and intensifies outside, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a Golden Age locked-room mystery.

Hanne's irascible character is appealing, the setup for this mystery is well executed and the other players vividly portrayed. But, after a strong start, the story bogs down and just plods along. In classic Golden Age style, the tale closes with all the suspects gathered together so that our detective can dazzle us with her deductive skills and dramatically reveal the murderer. Unfortunately, in this book, that scene lacks the drama and deductive sparkle of Golden Age reveal. It just . . . happens.

A disappointment.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free review copy of this book. ( )
  Remizak | Apr 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (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.
 

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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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