2013 Translation Challenge · Norway · review · Translated

Death of the Demon by Anne Holt

death of the demonDeath of the Demon by Anne Holt, translated by Anne Bruce
Scribner, June 2013
Originally published as Demonens død, 1995
Hanne Wilhelmsen book 3

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.

I’m a fan of the Hanne Wilhelmsen series by Anne Holt (I haven’t tried her other series yet), and Death of the Demon is a good installment in the series. It wasn’t as emotionally affecting as the last installment in the series, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.

This book finds Hanne moving ahead professionally and personally: she was recently promoted to chief inspector, a role to which she’s still growing accustomed. She enjoys the investigatory aspects of her jobs a bit too much, and, honestly, her work with her old friend Billy T., recently transferred from the drug interdiction team to the homicide section is one of the high points of the book for me. They have a good rapport.

The story revolves around the murder of the director of a foster home for older children owned by the Salvation Army in Oslo, Agnes Vestavik. This murder does not garner the same media heat as a double murder taking up most of the department’s resources, which is a nice switch from the previous book in the series. The investigation into Agnes’s home and work lives takes up the bulk of the book, and her story runs in tandem with the story of Olav, a twelve-year-old boy who had been living at the home for just a few weeks when Agnes is murdered. His story is told primarily in flashback by himself and by his mother, and it is quite affecting.

Affecting is a word I keep coming back to when I think about this book: Holt has great empathy for her characters: her heroes as well as her villains and their stories. They all have complicated lives, and she does that complication justice. The actual resolution of the mystery was not the strongest part of the story for me (it’s a sort of locked room situation), but that’s not to say the story was weak. I’m just comparing it to other crimes I’ve read about recently.

Other reviews appear in FictionFan’s Book Reviews.

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12 thoughts on “Death of the Demon by Anne Holt

    1. I keep hearing good things about the Vik series, and I really need to carve out the time to get to the first book, which I’ve had on my shelf for ages.

  1. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for this book to arrive at my library in New York. I’ve read the first two Hanne Wilhelmsen books and 1222. Glad to see it’s a good one, too.

    1. It’s such a good series, Kathy– I hope you enjoy it! I’m so invested in these characters after the first three books even without knowing what Hanne is like by the end of the series.

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