The 10th case, and the fifth to appear in English, for Chief Inspector William Wisting, of the Larvik Police CID, strains both his patience and his already iffy professional ties with his colleagues.
Line, Wisting’s daughter, has taken an indefinite leave from investigative journalism to come home and have her baby. Her old friend Sofie Lund has come home to take possession of the big, empty house her grandfather left her. Long before his death, Frank Mandt was widely known as the Smuggler King, but his reputation still doesn’t prepare Sofie for what she finds when she has his basement safe drilled open: nearly half a million Norwegian kroner and a revolver. Sofie, who doesn’t even want to keep the ill-gotten money, suggests they chuck the gun in the water, but Line insists on turning it over to her father. To her amazement and dismay, ballistics tests link it to not one, but two deaths: the New Year murder in Kristiansand that claimed the life of Elise Kittelsen and the shooting of taxi driver Jens Hummel, who, after disappearing more than six months ago, has obligingly turned up dead just in time to link his case to hers. The link is all the more baffling because the Kristiansand police, armed with several statements from eyewitnesses, arrested a suspect less than 15 minutes after Elise Kittelsen was killed and have kept him in custody ever since. Dan Roger Brodin continues to maintain his innocence, and now Wisting (The Caveman, 2015, etc.) is in a position to offer powerful evidence on his behalf. But Harald Ryttingen, who’s in charge of the New Year murder, resists any complications to his ironclad case, setting up a courtroom showdown in which Wisting’s hand would be a lot stronger if he could actually identify an alternative suspect.
On top of Horst’s mastery of detail, the countdown to the climactic trial infuses this solid procedural with a surprising energy.