The Star is High Above the Dust

Gunnar Staalesen, Wolves in the Dark (Ingen er så trygg i fare (2014), translated by Don Bartlett, (2017))
wolves in the dark

No one is as safe in danger
as God’s small flock of children,
the bird is not hidden behind the leaves,
the star is high above the dust.

So, that title is not an accurate translation – No one is as safe in danger would be closer – as presumably we don’t know Lina Sandell’s Swedish hymn (1865). It’s a title you’d use if you had a naming convention for your series, which Staalesen doesn’t.

So, we know that someone died at the end of We Shall Inherit the Wind and that Varg Veum had hit the akevitt in Where Roses Never Die. Now, the consequences.

At 7am, Veum is raided by the police, who suspect him of possessing pornography. Indeed, he has a lot of incriminating photographs on his hard drive – some of which feature him.

Of course, he can’t possibly be guilty – although sex criminals may seem like nice people in real life – and there is something odd about the dates on the materials. But, he did drop into a very long weekend, so may be… The Bergen police, who ought to be grateful for his input in solving cold cases, are commendably unwilling to be swayed by his role as detective, but his new girl friend Sølvi seems trusting. He’s able to find a lawyer, Vidar Waagenes, to represent him, as he reconstructs his memories of cases that have gone bad and might have led to someone wanting to take revenge by hacking his computer.

As if the structure isn’t complicated enough… Varg is allowed a break when he needs to throw up, and takes the opportunity to go on the lam. He has to solve a long list of crimes and not be caught doing so – which assumes we will suspend disbelief about how likely this is. Unless, maybe, the police want him to find the criminal?


As always, it builds to a satisfying climax, although, as always, don’t seek for consolation. As always, don’t trust anyone.  And we won’t have seen the end of this case.

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