Locked room mystery, Norwegian style

Cover of 1222
A review of 1222 by Anne Holt

1222 meters above sea-level a train traveling from Oslo crashes in a remote area. The good news, there is only one fatality amongst the 269 people on board. The bad news, they've crashed during the storm of the century. A blizzard with hurricane force winds is just getting started. So when the passengers are evacuated from the crippled train, they find themselves trapped in an isolated mountain hotel with no outside contact until the storm subsides. Though everyone is happy to have survived the crash, tensions soon start to rise amongst the travelers. And when one of them is murdered, no one feels safe.

Luckily, though she certainly doesn't think so, there was a police detective on the train. Hanne Wilhelmsen is wheelchair-bound after a shooting. She was on her way to meet with a surgeon who might offer her some hope (though she doubts it). Having her trip interrupted by a crash is bad enough. Being dragooned into investigating a murder while she is surrounded by a twitchy group of strangers is even worse. Though she is reluctant, Hanne is also aware of how quickly a group of people can become a mob. As tensions escalate she puts her expertise to work.

Hanne is not your typical protagonist. She's bitter and prickly and isn't afraid to let others know it. But she's also sharp, observant and determined. Would I like her if I met her in person? Probably not. But I kind of loved her in the book. Anne Holt has been on my radar, but only intermittently. I've read some of her books (What is Mine, What Never Happens) and they were very good. So why didn't she stick as an author who has a BOLO (Be On The Lookout)? I can't tell you. What I can tell you is that having read 1222, I have a feeling she will now be on a lot of mystery readers' BOLO lists (mine included).