Death of the Demon (Hanne Wilhelmsen) by Anne Holt

Knifed in the back…

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

death of the demonWhen respectable, middle-aged Agnes Vestavik is found at her desk with a kitchen knife in her back, it seems at first as if no-one could have wanted her dead. But as Hanne Wilhelmsen and her team investigate, they suddenly find themselves with a surfeit of suspects amongst the staff and in Agnes’ personal life, all with strong motives. And then there’s Olav – a 12-year-old newcomer to the foster home that Agnes ran: a boy with serious behavioural problems and a mother who can’t cope. Why did he run away on the night of the murder? Did he witness something? A question they can’t ask him until they find him – but Olav doesn’t intend to be found…

This was my first introduction to Hanne and her team and I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read. There’s obviously a back-story and it would probably be better to read the books in order, but I found this worked perfectly well as a standalone. Hanne has just been promoted to Chief Inspector and has persuaded her friend Billy T to transfer to her team. Their interactions are good fun and give the book a lighter side, without in any way detracting from the plot. We also see Hanne’s home-life with her partner Cecilie and get to see why Hanne is reluctant to make their relationship public.

Anne Holt (photo: Jo Michael)
Anne Holt
(photo: Jo Michael)

The descriptions of the foster-home and the troubled children are very convincing and handled with a welcome light touch. So often such places are rather unfairly portrayed as being all doom and gloom, but Holt brings out much of the humour and genuine care that in reality usually exists in them. We see Olav’s past through his mother’s eyes – a child she loves but can’t control. Both Olav and his mother are very well-drawn characters and Holt manages to make the reader increasingly sympathetic towards them as the book goes on.

Overall, a very enjoyable read that will certainly encourage me to read more in the series.

Thanks to Alex over at thinkinginfragments who suggested this author to me, and you’ll find Stacia’s fine review over at Red Panda Reads, a great resource for Nordic crime – of the fictional variety, of course!

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.

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16 thoughts on “Death of the Demon (Hanne Wilhelmsen) by Anne Holt

  1. Oh, I am so glad you enjoyed this! I like the Hanne Wilhelmson series quite a lot. I think she’s a fine character. I also like Holt’s ability to evoke particular settings and kinds of people. A fine review as ever 🙂


    • I’ve been avoiding Nordic for ages, put off by how miserable some of them are. But the blogosphere’s persuaded me to try again and I’m glad I did. This is a really enjoyable one – I’ll definitely have to fit some of her other books in. 🙂


    • Thanks, Stacia! A definite goodie – what’s the first one in the series, do you know? If I’m going to read her other stuff, I really ought to try to read them in order…


  2. I’m really glad you like her. I have yet to read this one, the most recent to be translated. Do read her other series, the Johanna Vik books. They were translated first and I think they’re excellent.


    • Oh no, another series!! I really must make an effort to only enjoy one-book wonders…good old Harper Lee… 😉

      Seriously, though, I will look out for the Johanna Vik ones. I enjoyed Holt’s writing style – strong plotting but lightened by the fun she put into the team’s interactions.


    • Haha! That’s the problem with new books – trying to avoid finding out too much about them. I’ve read so many reviews of some books, I don’t feel I’ll ever have to read the actual books!

      Hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂


  3. I just finished, and I really liked it. I think I liked Blessed Are Those Who Thirst a bit more because I”m not a huge locked-room person, and thank you for the reminder to get to the Vik series. Now that I’m caught up with this series I should have time to get to it!


    • Glad you enjoyed it – will you be reviewing it?

      Oh, you’re lucky to be up-to-date with any series. I seem to have spent this whole year coming in halfway through series and then adding the rest to the groaning TBR pile!


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