Politics and drugs make uneasy bedfellows in this first case for Hanne Wilhelmsen, the Oslo police inspector most recently seen on these shores in 1222 (2011).
Nobody much cares about Ludvig Sandersen, the dead addict found virtually faceless at the side of the River Aker. But it’s a different matter when attorney Hans E. Olsen is killed. Suddenly, or as close to suddenly as this slow-moving tale allows, Hanne and police attorney Håkon Sand, her old friend, are able to connect the two murders and even develop a plausible theory that links them both to a vast drug-smuggling operation. But their higher-ups don’t find their theory nearly so plausible. Neither do the judges who hear their petitions to lock up used-car salesman Roger Strømsjord and shady lawyer Jørgen Ulf Lavik. And no wonder, since the two suspects the Oslo police have already locked up—drug user Jacob Frøstrup and Dutch student Han van der Kerch—have died while in police custody. Hanne and Håkon are left to ask the same questions over and over: Why was Peter Strup, that ornament of the local bar, so determined to wrest van der Kerch’s defense away from Karen Borg, the civil attorney Sandersen’s confessed killer asked for? How can they crack the coded message Frøstrup found before he died? How high does the chain of corruption and coverups reach? And how can the police prove what they mostly know perfectly well?
Fans of Henning Mankell’s majestically lumbering police procedurals will relish every twist in the long road to resolution. Less patient readers should look to Hanne’s later adventures.