Anne Holt-an award-winning Norwegian crime writer and lawyer who also served as Minister of Justice. I discovered her through a list of the “Best Murder Mysteries of 2012,” which recommended 1222, starring police detective Hanne Wilhelmsen, nominated that year for an Edgar award (although it was published in 2007 in Norwegian).
Not only was the book itself a fantastic snowbound twist on the locked room mystery, Hanne Wilhelmsen is a complex and unusual heroine. When I “met” her (3 books into the series) she had undergone a huge, life-changing event…and it’s hard to evaluate how I would have gotten to know her reading the books in order starting with Blind Goddess. It did make me realize that many series writers keep the big things unchanged in their detective’s private life, letting changing take place in home life and surrounds, but keeping the essence of their protagonist the same. I think what Holt has done is remarkable.
I also love that Hanne is professional, intelligent, private, extremely good at her job, and just happens to be a lesbian in a loving, committed relationship with a doctor from the Middle East. I don’t know if it’s cultural, but it was refreshing to come upon a book with a lesbian protagonist. I hope that more and more, we find a range of main characters in mystery novels (and others) that reflects the wide range of people in professions all over the world.
Closing with a trio of quotes from another favorite crime writer (this one from Scotland):
“Anne Holt is the latest crime writer to reveal how truly dark it gets in Scandinavia.” ~Val McDermid
and two I need to remember as I blast through another scene today:
“Just do it: hammer through your first draft until the end.”~Val McDermid