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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

‘The Anthill Murders’ by Hans Olav Lahlum

Translated by Kari Dickson
Published by Mantle,
28 September 2017. 
ISBN 978-1-5098-0952-3

The Golden Age merges with Scandinavian Crime to produce this book.   It is set in 1972 in Oslo and starts with Inspector K2 investigating the strangulation of a young, attractive, female theology student.   She was killed when she was walking a short distance to her home at night.    The Inspector finds it a difficult case since it seems to be a random event.   Interviews with friends, relatives and acquaintances of the girl suggest that she has a fundamentally cold personality - she was very good looking and seemed to enjoy leading men on then rejecting them.

The title The Anthill Murders refers to the discovery of a small drawing of an ant in the victim’s handbag.  A second murder soon follows - this time of a different sort of woman - a promiscuous, heavy drinking jazz singer.     The ant motif re-occurs in this and further murders.  We are privy to the murderer’s thoughts, conveyed to the reader in short sections written in italics.    Tension builds up as the murderer works to carry out his plans. 

Inspector K2 discusses this case with Patricia, his friend and ally in previous cases.  She is another attractive young woman but has a disability that forces her to use a wheelchair.   They find it difficult to proceed, especially as their own relationship develops some problems.   

The Agatha Christie similarity suggested by one of the policemen proves interesting in reaching final onclusions.  This is a cleverly crafted mystery with several unexpected twists.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Hans Olaf Lahlum has written 4 previous crime novels featuring K2 and Patricia.

Hans Olav Lahlum born 12 September 1973, is a Norwegian historian, crime author, chess player and organizer, and politician. He has written biographies on Oscar Torp and Haakon Lie, and a history book about all the Presidents of the United States.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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