Blessed are those who thirst is the second volume in Anne Holt's impressive Hanne Wilhelmsen series, following on from, the previously reviewed, Blind Goddess. It should have been a wonderful summer, but Detective Wilhelmsen is beset by troubles, as an unexpected heatwave leads to an outbreak of serious crime. As though it wasn't bad enough that every Saturday an apparent murder scene is uncovered sans corpse, a particularly brutal rape and the police force stretched to every resource means that Wilhelmsen is in a competition to get to the rapist before the victim and her father reach him first.

Anne Holt is excellent in that she doesn't just concentrate on the puzzle of solving the crime (though that is always cleverly set up in her novels), she also focuses sympathetically on the victims, the police, and the problems that they face in trying to do their work, as well as the society and background against which the crime is set. As a result it's rather more than just your standard crime novel.

It's cleverly plotted, has a great sense of suspense, and works brilliantly as a crime novel. But where Holt really scores is in the vividness of her characterisation both of individuals and of society; because of this her stories feel real. I loved Hanne Wilhelmsen and her detective friends; and the victim and her father were beautifully characterised.

The novel did feel slightly dated, but this was due to the translation being long after the original publication (about ten years I believe). It's difficult as technology moves on quickly for modern detective stories to keep pace with the science; hence perhaps the rise in historic crime fiction. That apart (and that is definitely not Anne Holt's fault) I thoroughly enjoyed Blessed are those who thirst. Holt is undoubtedly my current favourite Scandi-Noir author.


Popular Posts