1222

1222 - Anne Holt, Marlaine Delargy Overall, I would say 1222 is a good choice for fans of Scandinavian mysteries looking for some light before-bed reading. Anne Holt's plot is sufficiently engaging, with enough enticing cliff hangers at the chapter ends to keep you up for a few extra minutes. Hanne is a wheelchair-bound ex-police officer who finds herself embroiled in several suspicious deaths after a winter storm-induced train crash maroons its passengers at a remote resort. Of course, given her investigative talents, she is called upon to help discover the culprit quickly before the tension in the increasingly claustrophobic lodge percolates toward a passenger revolt. Hanne is a unique voice as a first-person narrator-when she isn't constantly reminding you how misanthropic and curmudgeonly she is. She has good reason to be, but these traits are unnecessarily emphasized throughout the book. Her injury and personal life backstory are unfolded slowly, with just enough detail to bring a new reader of the series up to speed. The actual mystery at the center of the novel is not what is all that interesting or ground-breaking-it is the character development and inter-relationships that are the most compelling here. The victims of the crime(s) are barely drawn and the motives not very clear, but the people whom Hanne meets and work with her to keep control at the resort are well written. The reader will feel drawn in by their personalities and interactions, and will come to appreciate how each of them contribute to the narrative. There is a bit of a strange sub-plot mystery that could have been completely edited out without much effect and some trite plot mechanisms, but these can be overlooked due to the author's skill in capturing a sense of mood and a solid central story line. I am looking forward to going back to the beginning of the series to get to know Hanne better.