The Lion’s Mouth by Anne Holt and Berit Reiss-Andersen

lionsmouthI’ve read a lot of Anne Holt, in part because her approach on writing a series is to have a few recurring characters whose place in the story varies. Some of the early books in the series feel like thrillers or police procedurals while 1222 is a locked-room sort of mystery, and Death of the Demon felt almost like a novella with a very obvious social conscience. It’s great to read different kinds of stories with different characters taking prominence, but, unfortunately, this politics-heavy installment in the Hanne Willhelmsen series didn’t quite grab me.

This is a political story: prime minister Birgitte Volter is found shot dead in her office, and the Norwegian government is in crisis. There are a lot of characters to introduce both in the investigatory teams and the political teams.  Hanne Willhelmsen appears as an afterthought: she is living in California and on leave from the police but consults with her good friend, Billy T, another unorthodox detective.

Because of the large cast of characters, the book feels a bit long to me. We get inside everyone’s heads. Also, the book veered into political wrangling and party politics where the points got a bit speech-y or maybe preachy. This may have grated on me more because we’re in the middle of presidential debate season here and I’ve had my fill of political speeches. All in all, this is not my favorite in the series, but I’m curious to read the next installment, Dead Joker.

The Lion’s Mouth by Anne Holt and Berit Reiss-Andersen

Translated by Anne Bruce

Scribner, 2016

Originally published as Løvens gap, 1997

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.



15 thoughts on “The Lion’s Mouth by Anne Holt and Berit Reiss-Andersen

    • Hope you like them, Tracy: you can pick something short or long, procedural or thriller, etc: I don’t think she gets bored with the characters because the books all feel different.

  1. I enjoyed Death of the Demon and am now backtracking on the series – very slowly! Haven’t quite made up my mind about it yet – interesting to hear that she varies the type of stories. Quite brave in a way, since almost everyone will like some of them less than others.

    PS Even I’m tired of the US election and I live in the UK…

    • Hope you like them, FictionFan! I hadn’t read her in quite some time and have read 3 or 4 books in the last year. Even the ones I don’t love are still good, just not up to the high standards I have for her, you know.

      PS Less than a month till Super Tuesday, when I hope there’s a break in the intense coverage. Well, actually, the process of appointing a Supreme Court justice will take up the rest of the airtime.

      • Haha! I’ve just been thinking of e-mailing the BBC to ask why they think Brits are fascinated by the Supreme Court judge thing. I reckon the BBC thinks we’re one of the States! I swear I know more about American politics than British… 😉

  2. 1222 is a good locked-room in a blizzard mystery. The earlier ones are OK. I read two of them. I must return to Anne Holt’s books.

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