Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen

Review published on June 16, 2016.

September 1977. Mette Misvaer, a three year old girl, disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Almost 25 years later, as the expiry date for the statute of limitations draws near, Mette’s mother approaches private investigator Varg Veum, in a last desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter.

This book is right up my street, It is intriguing with lots of twists and turns. Two stories run alongside each other: a robbery with a fatal shooting and the reopening of the 25 year old case. Is there any correlation between the two? Clever writing gives the reader much to think about. There are lots of characters with confusing names but you soon get to grips with who is who.

This is the first book I have read by this author. The central character, Private Investigator Veum, is in a bad way. He gets through the day by drinking. There is obviously a lot of history and I gleaned some of this from the story. However, I want to know more. After saying this, the book can be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

The descriptive writing allows the reader to experience the depressive winter time in Bergen, Norway. I am a big fan of Jo Nesbo and whilst this book is reminiscent of the Harry Hole series, there is enough of a difference to encourage me to read all the books in this series to date.

So, if you are a fan of Nordic crime books, then I would recommend this one. I read it in two sittings. The tension builds gradually and it kept me guessing to the end. The author is a talented storyteller and I am always quick to applaud the lack of strong language and unnecessary sexual scenes. Brilliant read!

Dorothy Flaxman 5/3

Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen
Orenda Books 9781910633090 pbk Jun 2016

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