Blessed Are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt
Series: #2 in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series
Publication Date: Originally 1994, Translated and released in US 2013
The Short Version:
During an inordinately warm late spring in Oslo the crime rate rises and Detective Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen has her hands full both at work and in her personal life.
Why I Read It:
The eighth book in this series (1222) was actually the first translated and released here and I liked it enough to be happy that the earlier books were slated for translation and release. I read the first a few months ago and have been watching my library’s online catalog for it..
From the publisher:
It is only the beginning of May but in Oslo a brutal heat wave has coincided with an alarming increase in violent crime. In the latest instance, police investigator Hanne Wilhelmsen is sent to a macabre crime scene on the outskirts of town. An abandoned shed is covered in blood. On one wall an eight-digit number is written in blood. There is no body—nor any sign of a victim. Is it a kid’s prank or foul play? Is it even human blood?
As more bloody numbers are found in isolated locations throughout Oslo, Hanne’s colleague Håkon Sand makes a startling discovery: the digits correspond to the filing numbers of foreign immigrants. All are female, all are missing. Is there a serial killer on the loose in Oslo? How does the killer have access to immigrant data?
Meanwhile, as the trail heats up, the victim of a horrific unsolved rape case and her father have each decided to take justice into their own hands. Hanne and Håkon soon discover that they aren’t the only ones on the hunt for the killer.
I broke my only read a series in order rule when 1222 was published in English. Even though I met Hanne Wilhelmsen at a later point in her career I was glad to find out that the earlier books in this series were on the way. Even though I know of things that will happen between now and book eight, I’m enjoying starting at the beginning and learning how Hanne became the woman I met and liked when I read 1222.
Blind Goddess (the first in the series) was also good and very much a setting the stage and characters type of book. The setting in Oslo plants this most definitely in the Nordic Crime Fiction genre. They’re procedurals with interesting characters and situations.
Hanne works closely with prosecutor Hakon Sand. They’re an interesting team and supportive of each other while at the same time keeping some secrets from each other. Hanne is in fact keeping a big secret from everyone she works with. She’s a lesbian in a committed relationship but unwilling to let that be known. Her partner is understandably frustrated and angry. This is causing tension between them and is yet another issue for Hanne to deal with while handling an overwhelming work load and two baffling cases.
I highly recommend this series and also recommend that you start with Blind Goddess and then this one. I think you’ll like Hanne. She and the other recurring characters in this series are strong, interesting and a little quirky but likable. Holt knows her way around a crime story too. She worked for the Oslo Police Department, had a law practice and served as Norway’s Minister of Justice. With that background it’s not surprising that she can put together a smart mystery.