As he’s about to address a group of police officer trainees, Chief Inspector William Wisting receives a letter that dramatically changes his remarks, which now invite the student officers to join him in clearing up a cold case nearly a century old.
An extended flashback returns Wisting to the Christmas season of 1983, when he and his wife, Ingrid, have just become the parents of twins Thomas and Line and when Rupert Hansson, a friend of Ingrid’s father’s looking for an old car to restore, excitedly informs him of an ancient Minerva he’s heard rumors about inside a barn at Tveidalskrysset that appears to be locked from both inside and out. Following up on Hansson’s discovery after he’s bumped off a robbery investigation, Wisting finds that the car is indeed a Minerva Saloon manufactured in the 1920s, that it’s very much in need of restoration, and that the extensive damage includes two holes made by bullets that would seem to have struck its absent driver. Intent on following the car’s paper trail, Wisting unearths a document that lists it as “Lost, 21.08.1925.” The Minerva evidently went missing along with Marvin Bergan, whose brother Martinius worked for the company that imported it, when it was pressed into service to transport a large quantity of bank notes during a railroad strike. Now that he’s established a plausible motive for the car’s disappearance, Wisting needs only to identify the person or persons who stole the money and executed the courier—a remarkably tall order for a case that’s already nearly 60 years old by the time he gets it and one whose leading suspects have mostly long since died.
Not nearly as raw or powerful as Horst’s earlier cases (Ordeal, 2017, etc.) but still a deft and effective “prequel as well as a milestone” in the life of its suddenly retrospective hero.