Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another Good Read

Cover art for 1222

A friend told me she and her hsuband had been listening to the audio version of a book that they were both enjoying. She told me enough about 1222 by Anne Holt to inspire me to get it from my library. I had to put a request in and wait a few weeks for it. Always a good sign. 

Anne Holt is a Norwegian author who is well known and popular in her own country. She writes mysteries, and if the others are like this one, I would say that they capture your interest immediately and hold you fast. One review I read stated that this is Ms. Holt's first book to be translated into English. I am guessing it will not be the last. 

The title alone draws interest. The number refers to the number of meters above sea level where a train derails during a blizzard of epic proportions. Hanne  Wilhelmsen and 268 other passengers are stranded in a nearby hotel while the blizzard rages. Hanne is an ex-police officer who had been shot a few years earlier. She is a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair, accepting of her situation but withdrawn. The only death in the accident was the engineer. But deaths begin to happen at the hotel and Hanne is reluctantly drawn into an investigation. To add to the mix, there was an extra car on the train bearing unknown people who are whisked away to a top floor apartment where an armed guard keeps watch. 

We meet many of the stranded travelers, many of whom are not the most savory characters. Some are troubled souls while others are belligerent, angry people. We move through the days the passengers are trapped in the hotel with plummeting temps and huge amounts of snow allowing no one to leave or for rescuers to reach the stranded people. 

Even though a mystery, the novel is character driven--even the snowstorm is a character in this well written novel. What I especially liked was that the characters were not pretty pictures drawn up by an author, they were often flawed, often hard to like. The reader gains a new perspective for people who spend their days bound to a wheelchair. The story moves along with new turns often enough to keep a reader turning the pages eagerly. 

If you like mysteries and suspense stories, I'd recommend that you give this one a try. 


  1. This book sounds really interesting. I would love to read it, so I'll try to find it in library or I'll buy on the Amazon. Thank you for this excellent recommendation!

  2. If your library doesn't have it, maybe they can get it for you on an inter-library loan. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  3. It does sound interesting. I never read mysteries but I'm intrigued by European authors.

  4. Nancy,

    Scandinavian crime fiction is really on the rise these days after The Millennium Trilogy, but has always been a large genre. I often find it a little too dark, but perhaps I should give it another try.

    Also, who is the translator of this fine book? (You know I have to ask because, if you enjoyed the book in English, it is due in some measure to him or her. ;-)

  5. lisa, I have already returned the book to the library so can't check on the translator. But, believe me, I thought of you as I read this translated book. Maybe you can google it and find out.

  6. Sheila--this book is a myster, but it's also a wonderful character study and a peek at another country. I hope you'll give it a try.