I have a huge admiration for Anne Holt's Hanne Wilhelmsen mysteries (see previous reviews of Blind Goddess and Blessed are those who thirst). The third novel in the series, Death of the demon, is every bit as good as its predecessors.

Hanne Wilhelmsen has been promoted, and is struggling to lead an investigation without doing all the work herself. The murder of the head of a home for "difficult" children goes largely unnoticed while Oslo's police are on the trail of a double murderer. Wilhelmsen is tasked with bringing the case to a successful conclusion, but with less than reliable witnesses, some re-writing of old history, no Hakon Sand to back her up, and a possible murderer, who surely can't have convicted the crime, Wilhelmsen will have to do a lot of work to ensure that the right person is convicted of the murder.

More than in the other books in the series so far, Wilhelmsen's own feet of clay are exposed in Death of the demon. Thankfully this just makes her a rather more endearing character. Anne Holt tells the story from several perspectives, including that of a mother, who is desperate to protect her child, whatever he may have done.

Ultimately the ending of Death of  the demon is an unsettling one. Holt presents the reader with all the clues, but will either the reader or Wilhelmsen get it right? The answer to that question still hangs in the air long after you've turned over the last page.


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