Sister see, sister do / She’s got to save me

Gunnar Staalesen, Big Sister (Storesøster (2016), translated by Don Bartlett (2018))

Big Sister

He automatically stepped back and tried to close the door, but I could be the pushy salesman if I wanted, so I leaned against it and followed him in before he had a chance to complete his action.

A trope of the series detective is to suddenly find a sibling, never mentioned before, from whom he is estranged. The sibling is in trouble and/or committed a crime and frankly should wearing a red jumper. Continue reading →

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.

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A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

Gunnar Staalesen, Where Roses Never Die (Der hvor roser aldri dør (2012), translated by Don Bartlett (2015))

So, perhaps for the first time, there’s a spoiler here for those who haven’t read the books in sequence (and I’d already done so by reading the backcover…). Hidden after the picture…
roses

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The Fool Crying Wolf

Gunnar Staalesen, We Shall Inherit the Wind (Vi skal arve vinden (2010), translated by Don Bartlett (2015))

We Shall Inherit

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. Proverbs 11:29

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Surviving on Caffeine and a Cold Heart

Gunnar Staalesen, Cold Hearts (Kalde hjerter (2008), translated by Don Bartlett (2013))

Cold HeartsSo here I could see the end coming.

We have two interweaved plots: the Bergen criminal underworld and the Bergen charitable middle class. Varg Veum, private eye, outcast, pariah, persona non grata, is able to code switch between the levels, perhaps more acceptable to the sex workers than the professional classes or the police. Continue reading →

Wife Killers

Gunnar Staalesen, The Consorts of Death (Dødens Drabanter (2006), translated by Don Bartlett (2009))

Consorts of DeathHigh above the mountains, the moon had appeared, the earth’s pale consort, distant and alone in its eternal orbit around the chaos and turmoil below. It struck me that the moon wasn’t alone after all. There were many of us adrift and circling around the same chaos, the same turmoil, without being able to intervene or do anything about it. We were all consorts of death.

There are two things to notice about this entry in the Varg Veum series – first, it is the debut of Don Bartlett as translator; two, it is not set more or less contemporaneously with publication. Continue reading →

In the Dark

Gunnar Staalesen, At Night All Wolves Are Grey (I Mørket er Alle Ulver Grå (1983), translated by David McDuff, 1985)

One always forgets a wolf along the way”

greySometimes there’s an itch, and obviously whilst I have books, I really ought to be reading about Bergen’s most famous private eye. Even if he has a wandering eye. And digging around t’Interwebs, I found all but one of the translated titles on a single non-BigSouthAmericanRiver. Mind you, I went back there for Consorts of Death.

And when the pile arrived, I discovered two things. Continue reading →

A Palpable Hytte

Jørn Lier Horst, The Cabin (2018, Det Innerste Rommet, translated by Anne Bruce, 2019)

cabinSo, it has to be said, the original book is called something closer to The Innermost Room, rather than The Cabin, but the cabin seems to be the must-have accessory of your upper middle class Norwegian. The title, I would argue, has a certain amount of ambiguity as to [spoilers!] which room it is.

But maybe it’s Norwegianer.
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Not to Be Confused with Da Vinci

Jørn Lier Horst, The Katharina Code (2017, Katharina-koden, translated by Anne Bruce, 2018)

katharina codeSo here we have a definite shift – the earlier Wisting novels came from small press Sandstone, but this book marks a move for Lier Horst to Penguin and the embracing of cliché du jour “figure walking away from us into snowy forest” book cover. The scene could be snowy, but the novel is set in October and not late enough that a fishing trip at a cabin isn’t practical. I note that Jørn Lier Horst’s name is smaller than the novel’s title, so he isn’t yet being sold on that.

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From Dusk til Dawn

Jørn Lier Horst, When It Grows Dark (2016, Når Det Mørkner, translated by Anne Bruce, 2016)

When It Grows DarkSo, I wonder if Lier Horst has painted himself into a corner – it seems as if he’s producing a Wisting novel every year and – spoiler – Wisting’s daughter Line has had a daughter at the end of Ordeal. The pattern of Wisting’s investigation intersecting with Line’s journalism (but it takes most of the novel for a police officer and a journalist to spot this) is likely disrupted by baby Ingrid being in a sling. Indeed, I think Line only has a cameo in this volume, which I suspect we’d call a novelette in sf terms.

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