Gunnar Staalesen, Cold Hearts (Kalde hjerter (2008), translated by Don Bartlett (2013))
So 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 →
Gunnar Staalesen, The Consorts of Death (Dødens Drabanter (2006), translated by Don Bartlett (2009))
High 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 →
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”
Sometimes 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 →
Jørn Lier Horst, When It Grows Dark (2016, Når Det Mørkner, translated by Anne Bruce, 2016)
So, 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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Jørn Lier Horst, Ordeal (2015, Blindgang, translated by Anne Bruce, 2016)
“As a criminal investigator, I have never believed in coincidence. There are always explanations. Patterns, threads and logical connections. […] But I must admit that there is a place for coincidences in life, outwith the rules laid down by the laws of nature and described by the province of science.”
Coincidence and synchronicity, especially the former, reverberate through the Wisting series. William Wisting is investigating a case that impinges on an old case or is struggling after a case has gone cold and his daughter, Line Wisting is investigating a death or something criminally related. It takes most of the book for a detective and a journalist to work it out, even if it is blindingly obvious to we, the oh so wise reader. Continue reading →
Jørn Lier Horst, The Hunting Dogs (2012, Jakthundene, translated Anne Bruce, 2014)
So, this isn’t quite where I came in — it’s episodes 6-10 of Wisting, when the titular detective is riding high from his triumph of solving the serial killer case of Caveman. Appearing on Jens Christian Nørve’s Åsted Norge programme, his celebration is turned to despair when a lawyer Henden (Fridtjov Såheim) on the show accuses the police of a miscarriage of justice over his client Vidar Haglund (Fridtjov Såheim)’s alleged murder of Cecelia Linde. Wisting is suspended from duties and faces prison time — but takes the files home so he find out who planted the evidence and find out if Haglund was guilty. This becomes urgent, as another teen, Linnea Kaupang (Thea Sofie Loch Næss), has now gone missing.
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Jørn Lier Horst, Closed for Winter (2011, Vinterstengt, translated by Anne Bruce, 2013)
Norwegians seem to have summer homes. Or perhaps it’s just the middle class ones. They seem to be in the middle of nowhere and are perhaps a symbol of their relationship with isolation. In this case, we have Ove Bakkerud, seeking out isolation from a break up, who finds that his hytte has been broken into in his absence. And it gets worse: there is a murder victim at a nearby cabin, a cabin owned by TV personality Thomas Rønningen. Continue reading →
Jørn Lier Horst, Dregs (2010, Bunnfall, translated by Anne Bruce, 2011)
There’s a kind of detective work in coming to this, the fifth in the Wisting novels, after the television adaptation of books nine and eight of the sequence.
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Wisting (Directed by Trygve Allister Diesen and Katarina Launing, 2019)
I stumbled across Wisting a couple of months ago in the nether regions of iPlayer and downloaded the first episode a couple of months ago. I confess I’ve never seen The Bridge (soon to be a Radio 4 programme), nor Wallander, nor the original version of The Killing (but most of the American version). I did see Modus (possibly in reverse order) and Svartsjön (ultimately silly, but verging on the Todorovian fantastic, if I recall correctly), so my scandinoir experiences are thin (I think I gave up after the second film in The Girl with the Increasingly Passive Character trilogy). Continue reading →
I think I first saw a copy of this 1914 painting by Nikolai Astrup. I’m not clear.
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Nikolai Astrup, Tyskebryggen (1914)