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1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Thriller by Anne Holt

1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Thriller by Anne Holt

Ratings:

3.43

(158)
|Views: 4,761|Likes:
Published by Simon and Schuster
From Norway’s bestselling female crime writer comes a suspenseful locked-room mystery set in an isolated hotel in Norway, where guests stranded during a monumental snowstorm start turning up dead.

"A good old-fashioned murder mystery. Wherever Hanne shows up next, my advice is to follow that wheelchair."
-- Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

A TRAIN ON ITS WAY to the northern reaches of Norway derails during a massive blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers abandon the train for a nearby hotel, centuries-old and practically empty, except for the staff. With plenty of food and shelter from the storm, the passengers think they are safe, until one of them is found dead the next morning.

With no sign of rescue, and the storm continuing to rage, retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is asked to investigate. Paralysed by a bullet lodged in her spine, Hanne has no desire to get involved. But she is slowly coaxed back into her old habits as her curiosity and natural talent for observation force her to take an interest in the passengers and their secrets. When another body turns up, Hanne realizes that time is running out, and she must act fast before panic takes over. Complicating things is the presence of a mysterious guest, who had travelled in a private rail car at the end of the train and was evacuated first to the top floor of the hotel. No one knows who the guest is, or why armed guards are needed, but it is making everyone uneasy. Hanne has her suspicions, but she keeps them to herself.

Trapped in her wheelchair, trapped by the storm, and now trapped with a killer, Hanne must fit the pieces of the puzzle together before the killer strikes again.
From Norway’s bestselling female crime writer comes a suspenseful locked-room mystery set in an isolated hotel in Norway, where guests stranded during a monumental snowstorm start turning up dead.

"A good old-fashioned murder mystery. Wherever Hanne shows up next, my advice is to follow that wheelchair."
-- Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

A TRAIN ON ITS WAY to the northern reaches of Norway derails during a massive blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers abandon the train for a nearby hotel, centuries-old and practically empty, except for the staff. With plenty of food and shelter from the storm, the passengers think they are safe, until one of them is found dead the next morning.

With no sign of rescue, and the storm continuing to rage, retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is asked to investigate. Paralysed by a bullet lodged in her spine, Hanne has no desire to get involved. But she is slowly coaxed back into her old habits as her curiosity and natural talent for observation force her to take an interest in the passengers and their secrets. When another body turns up, Hanne realizes that time is running out, and she must act fast before panic takes over. Complicating things is the presence of a mysterious guest, who had travelled in a private rail car at the end of the train and was evacuated first to the top floor of the hotel. No one knows who the guest is, or why armed guards are needed, but it is making everyone uneasy. Hanne has her suspicions, but she keeps them to herself.

Trapped in her wheelchair, trapped by the storm, and now trapped with a killer, Hanne must fit the pieces of the puzzle together before the killer strikes again.

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Publish date: Aug 7, 2012
Added to Scribd: Jul 17, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/21/2013

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Activity (27)

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remizak reviewed this
Rated 2/5
So you're on a train in Norway in the winter, heading north through a blizzard when the train derails. There is bad news and good news. The bad news is that you're in Norway in a blizzard in a wrecked train. The good news is that only one person has been killed in the accident and, miraculously, you're very near a large resort hotel that is able to accommodate everyone in comfort while you're waiting out the storm.People are people, though, so not everybody focuses on the positive. Cliques immediately form in the hotel and hostilities erupt when an ultra-nationalist woman named Kari Thue hurls epithets against a Kurdish couple, and some young people are nasty to a member of a church group. Observing it all with her (retired) police detective's eye is Hanne Wilhelmsen. Hanne is in a wheelchair, having been shot and paralyzed on the job.Soon, guests begin being murdered and Hanne is dragged, figuratively kicking and screaming, into an investigation. The storm rages and intensifies outside, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a Golden Age locked-room mystery.Hanne's irascible character is appealing, the setup for this mystery is well executed and the other players vividly portrayed. But, after a strong start, the story bogs down and just plods along. In classic Golden Age style, the tale closes with all the suspects gathered together so that our detective can dazzle us with her deductive skills and dramatically reveal the murderer. Unfortunately, in this book, that scene lacks the drama and deductive sparkle of Golden Age reveal. It just . . . happens.A disappointment.DISCLOSURE: I received a free review copy of this book.
bsquaredinoz reviewed this
Rated 3/5
The book takes its title from the height above sea level (in metres) at which events unfold. During the worst snowstorm in Norwegian history a train derails and 269 of its passengers are taken to a nearby mountain-top hotel where they will wait out the storm in relative comfort. During the first night however one of the passengers is murdered and it falls to a couple of hotel staff and one of the passengers, former policewoman Hanne Wilhelmesen, to investigate.

I admit to being a bit of a sucker for the ‘country house’ mysteries of which this is a variation. Over the years I’ve read the same basic story several dozen times because I like seeing how different authors try to bring something new to the much-used story arc, with varying degrees of success. I’d put this addition to the tradition at a little above average, with much to recommend it and a couple of things that annoyed me intensely.

The positives first though, which included the characters. Hanne is very enjoyable, though I could be biased because I recognise my curmudgeonly side in her aversion to humanity in general. She is wheelchair bound since being shot on duty some years earlier and has withdrawn to a very small circle for her human contact (essentially her partner and their daughter) so dealing with the large group of passengers is something of a struggle for her. The fact that many of them want to help her (carry her, push her wheelchair etc) doesn’t improve matters as she has a real aversion to this. Although reluctant to become involved in the investigation and related matters that subsequently unfold, she does eventually take an interest in seeing whether or not she still has the skills to do the job that was taken away from her.

The rest of the characters are more of a collective palette than individuals, though from this outsider’s perspective they provided quite a fascinating look at Norwegian society. Even Hanne at one point comments on this as she tries to work out whether or not they have a statistically representative sample of the country’s population. There’s a group of priests, s girl’s sports team, a group of doctors who’d been going to attend a conference (including one who is meant I think to be an exotic little person but whom I found annoying) and assorted others. The way they react to various events that occur over the time they are trapped together provides an interesting sociological backdrop to the book.

The annoying things about the book mainly related to the uneven plotting. There’s a subplot involving people who had been travelling on the train in a locked carriage (rumoured to be the Royal carriage) and are now ensconced on the top floor of the hotel and have no interaction at all with the larger group. This thread balloons out to become an utterly ludicrous bit of nonsense that was entirely pointless and unnecessary and its inclusion made me cranky.

1222 is an enjoyable take on the classic whodunnit which nicely captures its stormy, isolated setting. For me the sensational (i.e. silly) elements of the plot detracted a little from my overall enjoyment but it’s still a recommended read.
bookdivasreads reviewed this
Rated 2/5
A train climbing a steep Norwegian mountain derails moments after the train's engineer dies and close to a station and hotel. Fortunately no one else onboard suffers from any life-threatening injuries and they are all evacuated to the Finse 1222 hotel. The travelers are a motley crew and include a retired police investigator, families on vacation, doctors' on route to a medical conference, and a host of other travelers. Not all of the passengers get along, due to differences in politics and religious beliefs, but all is going reasonably well until a murder. Hanne Wilhelmsen is extremely antisocial but is lured into providing a superficial investigation into the death of the priest Cato Hammer. Nerves are on edge, especially since a rescue cannot be mounted due to severe winter storms. Hanne tries to remain calm and as isolated as possible, until the next murder occurs. Will she be able to determine who is murdering the survivors before there's another death? Will the storm abate long enough for a rescue before another death? Who are the mysterious guests from the private train car and are they the cause of the unrest and murders?I was initially intrigued by the idea of a murder at an isolated mountain hotel during a severe winter storm. I was further intrigued by the notion of a retired police officer being pulled into the investigation against her will. I wish I could say my intrigue lasted throughout the reading of 1222. I don't know if the suspense simply lost something in translation. Superficially this seemed like a great "whodunit" crime mystery, but there was just too much going on with very little of it being interesting. The subplots seemed to stall and fade in-and-out, leaving unresolved issues and questions until the bitter end. Hanne may have been a capable police investigator, but she is not a likeable character. She seems to be goaded into participating in the murder investigation and appears to remain a relatively unwilling participant until the very end. For me, her personality made finishing 1222 seem more like a chore than a desire to find out who did it and why.
nbmars reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This story is set in the middle of a raging February snowstorm in Norway. A train traveling from Oslo to Bergen derails near the railway station at Finse, which is 1222 meters above sea level, hence the title of the book. The narrator is Hanne Wilhelmsen, a retired police inspector who has been paralyzed from the waist down since a shooting four years earlier and is now confined to a wheelchair. She lives a rather quiet, isolated life with her partner, Nefis, and their daughter, Ida. She was traveling alone, however, to see a medical specialist, and was evacuated along with other survivors of the crash to the train station hotel. Altogether, there were 269 people on board, and at first, only the train driver died.As the blizzard kicks up and the passengers become good and snowbound, the death count begins to climb as well. A few die from delayed traumatic injury, but there are also a couple of murders. Since Hanne is the only one with any police experience, she, along with a solicitor and a doctor, try to conduct an investigation and apprehend the killer before more people die.Discussion: This is apparently the seventh installment in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series. It is the first to be published in the U.S. however. Even so, I had no trouble getting into the story. On the other hand, it sort of ends in medias res - the crime is solved, but all the other pending plot lines are simply dropped. I can only think that because it is a series, they will be picked up in some later book. As it was, however, it left me feeling quite bewildered and a bit robbed.Evaluation: Holt does an excellent job in making you feel the bitter cold of the wind and the inexorable onslaught of endless snow. She also nicely chronicled the change in atmosphere as the days wore on among those who were trapped. I wasn’t all that taken with Hanne however, nor of any of those trapped along with her; in any event we didn’t get to know any of them all that well. Hanne makes plenty of asides about the Norwegian character and Norway’s social institutions, but some of it may seem puzzling to the American audience. There was also a bit of what I thought of as silliness to make the book more politically timely and internationally relevant. But really my biggest complaint is, as I stated in the Discussion, the story just stopped. In the middle of what was happening. Without carrying out the plotlines. Only the murder, which seemed only a minor subplot in view of the storm and the interaction of personalities confined to the lodge, was brought to a resolution. I was left dissatisfied.
jfgabcik reviewed this
Rated 2/5
It's hard to see the four stars the Bookmarks Mag. reviewers gave this attempt. And the dust jacket blurb by Jo Nesbo calling Holt "the godmother of Norwegian crime fiction" is unbelievable. The plot, the characters, the scene description - all seemed blah and unexciting. I've only read one Nesbo book, a very scary page turner. But with 1222, I was turning the pages just to get it over with. J.G.
kathy89_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Tain traveling from Bergen to Oslo is derailed in the mountains during a raging snowstorm. The passengers are transferred to a hotel via jet ski where they are trapped for three days during the blizzard. A couple of murders take place and a retired police detective starts watching, asking questions and attempts to solve the murders. Hanna, the detective is in a wheelchair, and must remain the ground floor of the hotel while attempting to solve the case. I find these Scandavian mysteries to be moody, dark and depressing. Also, there are some anti-American comments made by one of the men that makes you wonder.
cloggiedownunder reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Anne Holt’s latest novel is “1222”. The numbers refer to the height above sea level of the town where this modern version of the classic crime story takes place. The story starts with a derailment just as the train leaves Finesnut on its journey from Olso to Bergen. Plenty of injuries, but the train driver is the lone casualty. Amongst the 269 passengers who are evacuated to the nearby century-old mountain hotel are self-indulgent teens, German tourists, a church group, a sports team, the unseen occupants of a mysterious extra carriage, a group of doctors (conveniently for those injured) on their way to a conference and retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen. Add some locals and hotel staff, a snowstorm to ensure everyone has to stay put, a murder (or two) and you have the definitive locked room mystery. Hanne is not Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot: there’s no rubbing of hands together with glee at the challenge; she doesn’t want to get involved. Hanne is paralysed, confined to a wheelchair, limited to the lobby level. Whilst relying on those around her for some pertinent information, her powers of observation and deduction are obviously acute and she has the case solved in time for the classic denouement when the cops finally arrive. Anne Holt gives us a prickly heroine. She’s cynical, perceptive, has a very dry sense of humour and an incisive wit. Hanne’s inner monologue is a delight; her other characters and the dialogue are realistic and the action is non-stop. Holt touches on several topical issues and throws in a bit of philosophy. The Beaufort scale chapter headings are a fitting touch. “1222” gives the reader undiluted pleasure throughout: this novel is hard to put down. Marlaine Delargy’s excellent translation certainly deserves a mention.
smik_3 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
This is the first book by Anne Holt that I have read, and it certainly won't be the last.Perhaps one of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much is that it is in part a homage to Agatha Christie. Here are 269 train passengers with nowhere to go (169 of them in the hotel 1222), imprisoned by a snow storm, and with little hope of immediate rescue. So when the murder takes place, we have a classic "locked room" mystery.The central sleuth is wheel-chair bound, retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen. After the first murder, that of a church minister, Hanne doesn't initiate an investigation as one might expect, but teams up with a doctor, a solicitor, and the hotel manager. Hanne expects their isolation on the highest mountain pass in Norway will be short-lived, but the storm grows in intensity and rescue is actually days away. ‘That’s what you said when you were in here earlier,’ he insisted. ‘You said this investigation would be incredibly simple. Or something along those lines. Is that what you think?’ I nodded. ‘We have a very limited number of suspects, all of whom are trapped up here. A limited geographical area to examine, to put it mildly. I think the murder will be cleared up in a day or two. Once the police have taken over, of course. I mean, they have to make a start first.’There are some obvious parallels between this story and many of the "isolated location" novels of Agatha Christie. Hanne herself draws one: Twenty-four hours ago, there were 269 people on board a train. Then we became 196. When two men died, we were 194. Now there were only 118 of us left. I thought about Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I immediately tried to dismiss the thought. And Then There Were None is a story that doesn’t exactly have a happy ending.The number of people resident in the hotel reduces and they become even more isolated as a connecting passage with another wing of the hotel collapses. And then there is another murder.Apart from the murder mystery, the story has a second element: who were the people in the last carriage of the train? Why have they taken up residence in the top floor of the hotel? Why do they have an armed guard?There are a number of details about Hanne's personal life and past history to be pieced together from the novel, and this does seem to take away from the main threads, although they are probably necessary.Holt does have one disconcerting narrative ploy, that you can see in action here: I didn’t know how right I was. Just a few weeks later, his business colleagues would be seized and placed under arrest in a major police operation in the Natal province of Brazil. They could look forward to a lengthy trial and an even longer prison sentence, all under conditions that made the prison at Ullersmo look like a five-star hotel.In more than one place Hanne looks ahead and tells us how something ends up.However, that aside, this is a good read. Anne Holt a good Norwegian author for you to look for.
cameling_2 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A severe Norwegian blizzard causes a train to derail crossing a mountain, killing the train driver. The passengers are forced to abandon the train and make their way to a hotel that's almost empty except for a few German guests and the staff.While they wait out the storm in the well stocked and staffed hotel, passengers from the train are being killed, and Hanne Wilhelmsen, an ex-police detective who is now a paraplegic, is called upon to identify the murderer before more people are killed.With everyone locked in the hotel and the blizzard outside gaining intensity, this novel has every element necessary for a chilling crime thriller.
ridgewaygirl reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This is Anne Holt's homage to Agatha Christie's style of murder mysteries, taken to modern Norway. Hanne Wilhelmsen is an ex-cop, a paraplegic traveling by train through the Norwegian mountains to Bergen to see a specialist. The train derails near an isolated holiday resort and the passengers are taken by snowmobile to the hotel to wait out the fierce winter storm that prevents them from being rescued. Sometime during that first night, a man is murdered and Hanne finds herself unwillingly heading up a quiet investigation, helped by the red cross worker who rescued her, a doctor and the hotel manager. Holt excels at the character study and here she has plenty to work with. She remains true to the spirit of the genre, while creating a modern collection of people, who are on edge after surviving the crash and learning that a murderer is living among them. Holt even ends the story in a particularly Christie-like way, while retaining the its very modern setting.I didn't look at her. Instead I met Geir Rugholmen's gaze. He was still standing on the table, his legs wide apart; he was strong, but there was an air of resignation about him. We were both thinking the same thing.The people who were snowed in at Finse 1222 had begun to let go of their dignity. And only eighteen hours had passed since the accident.

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