2013 Translation Challenge, Norway, review, Translated

Blind Goddess by Anne Holt

blind goddessBlind Goddess by Anne Holt, translated by Tom Geddes
Scribner, 2012, originally published in Norwegian as Blind gudinne in 1993
Hanne Wilhelmsen book 1
Source: library

I read a lot of police procedurals, and it’s my favorite sub-genre of the last few years. Blind Goddess is a bit more than a police procedural: it follows both the police and the prosecution, much like the long-running TV series Law and Order. The main characters are Hanne Wilhelmsen, a detective with about ten years of experience and Håkon Sand, a police prosecutor who graduated at the bottom of his law school class but is nevertheless a dogged and effective prosecutor. The third main character is civil lawyer Karen Borg, an old friend of Sand’s who discovers a drug dealer whose murder sparks the investigation at the center of the novel.

My main impression of the book is that it feels busy: the plot that starts with the murder of a drug dealer becomes more gruesome and involves a broader conspiracy that will play out in subsequent books. I much preferred all the time Holt spent with the three main characters and their work and personal lives. I suspect it felt busy to me because Holt was laying the groundwork for plots that will cover the next novels in the series. That being said, I really like the main characters and I’m eager to read more.

A couple unrelated items in the book struck me: (1) is it really not a problem for a witness to a murder investigation to serve as a criminal defense lawyer in the case? I understand why Karen Borg was a defense lawyer, but I expected there to be more opposition to her serving as defense counsel; and (2) the reliance on fax machines was a blast from the recent past.

This is the second Hanne Wilhelmsen book I’ve read and the first one in the series. In the U.S., the locked-room mystery 1222, the eighth novel in the series, was published first, and unfortunately, it gives away a significant part of Hanne’s story. That being said, I’m eager to read books two through seven as they’re translated. Blessed Are Those Who Thirst has already been published, and Death of the Demon is due later this year.

Blind Goddess has also been reviewed by Maxine at Eurocrime and Norman at Crime Scraps

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11 thoughts on “Blind Goddess by Anne Holt”

  1. Rebecca – Good to hear you liked this novel. I’m enjoying the series myself, and I really am enjoying the character development, so I’m glad you brought that up. And I think Holt is to be commended for showing different sides of an investigation. That’s not really easy to do and I give her ‘innovation points’ for it.

    1. Hi Margot- It really is a far-reaching and juicy investigation, but I didn’t want to give away too much information in the review. I think I’ll try the next one soon while this one is fresh in my mind.

  2. I enjoyed this but wasn’t so impressed with ‘Blessed Are Those Who Thirst’, which I’ve just finished. Have you read her Vik and Stubo books? On balance I prefer those.

    1. Alex- I have “What Is Mine” sitting on my shelf, and I’ve heard from other people too that they prefer that series to this one. I’ll have to try it out soon.

  3. I have not read anything by Holt, but I have What is Mine. At least the comments here encourage me to read that one. I had just read one negative review of that book.

    The book you reviewed here sounds very interesting. I also like police procedurals.

    1. Tracy- I read lots of different kinds of crime novels except historical ones, and the ones I’ve read in the last few years that I really love are police procedurals. I hope to get to What is Mine at some point too.

  4. I love this series. That’s all I can say. I wait with baited breath for the next books to be translated and published in the States.

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