Gunnar Staalesen, We Shall Inherit the Wind (Vi skal arve vinden (2010), translated by Don Bartlett (2015))
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. Proverbs 11:29
“And who, if I might ask, are you?”
A twitch traversed his face, somewhere between a smile and a grimace. “Did I hear you aright? A wolf in a sanctuary?”
I didn’t mention the map in Cold Hearts – which I think suffers from the same problem as the one in the Harry Hole books: it is barely legible. You can see the harbour or Vågen, Bryggen, the fish market, Strandkaien, Torgallmenningen, Markeveien and Valkendorfsgaten, but you have to squint. Varg’s home isn’t marked, nor is the police station.
Although, here it’s barely relevant.
Karin Bjørge introduces him to Ranveig Mæland, whose businessman husband, Mons, has gone missing, and Varg heads for the remote island of Brennøy. This has been an obscure part of the country, but is now ideal for a wind farm, which some of the environmentalists are against as it might spoil the view. Mons has been part of putting the deal together, but has been perhaps been having second thoughts.
And then he’s found dead, in one of three startling set pieces that are shocking – although we know the third one is coming. As Veum investigates, he finds that Mons had an earlier wife, Lea, whose disappearance remains unexplained, and their children have no love for Ranveig. Meanwhile, the purchase of the land where the turbines will be built may have been bought in dubious circumstances. And Stein Svenson, part of the opposition, is found tied up.
We have here battles between old and new ways – religion and technology, family and individualism, old secrets and new knowledge. If the final twist isn’t unexpected, that’s because I’ve read too many on the trot. Or that Staalesen is playing fair.
Because of the choice of books translated, it perhaps hasn’t been that clear that Karin has become Varg’s girlfriend, rather than someone who will provide names and addresses in return for a nice meal. At the start of the novel, she is in a bad way in hospital, more of a hanging cliff than the start of Cold Hearts. This is likely to set up the next three novels… but to say more is in spoiler territory.