Author: Anne Holt
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Hanne Wilhelmsen is a retired police inspector who was paralyzed by a bullet wound. She’s on a train heading north in Norway when the train derails. The passengers are shepherded to a nearby hotel where they have food and lodging, but absolutely no idea when they will be rescued due to a raging storm that could go on for days. When one of the train passengers is murdered, Hanne is forced to get involved to determine what happened to him.
1222 is a Scandinavian crime fiction novel with an interesting premise: it takes place in a completely closed environment. The train passengers’ basic needs are seen to; they have food, water, shelter, heat, and even beds. As far as accidents in remote locations and bad weather go, they could have done a lot worse. But the fact is, they’re trapped. This makes for some interesting politics. There’s a limited pool of suspects for the murderer, and what’s more, there’s an intense sense of closeness surrounding the book.
Hanne is an interesting character in 1222. Unlike most protagonists in these types of novels, she’s actually very reluctant to get involved. Now that she’s retired, Hanne is used to being left alone, and doesn’t appreciate being dragged into the investigation. She’s very good at what she does, though. She’s incredibly observant and understands people, which is funny considering how difficult she can be. She’s an easy character to like, especially if you like strong characters that have their own distinct personalities.
This is the ninth Hanne Wilhelmsen novel, though it’s very easy to approach 1222 as a standalone. In fact, this is the first book in this series to be translated into English, so unless you’re willing to read these books in their original Norwegian, you don’t have much of a choice in where you start. It’s fine to read this series out of order, as Holt does a wonderful job developing Hanne’s personality quirks for new readers.
If you’re looking for a unique, interesting mystery novel that will keep you hooked from beginning to end, 1222 is a great choice. Holt does a wonderful job throwing in twists and turns, as well as keeping the suspense level high. Though the identity of the murderer isn’t too difficult to guess (though the person’s motives are clever), it’s still a book well worth reading. Here’s hoping more of Anne Holt’s novels are translated into English, as I’d love to get to know Hanne better.