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July 30, 2013 / Leslie

Review – 1222 by Anne Holt

1222 by Anne Holt1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel
by Anne Holt, translated by Marlaine Delargy
Audio narrated by Kate Reading

Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Scribner and Blackstone Audio
Publish Date: December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover: 336 pages, Audio: 10 hours | 39 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 3½ of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

A train on its way to the northern reaches of Norway derails during a massive blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers abandon the train for a nearby hotel, centuries-old and practically empty, except for the staff. With plenty of food and shelter from the storm, the passengers think they are safe, until one of them is found dead the next morning.

My Thoughts:

This is the eighth novel in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series and the first one I’ve had the opportunity to read. I was a little leery about jumping in without sufficient character background to fully enjoy the story but found it was not an issue. The murder mystery works well as a stand alone novel and the author provided a satisfactory amount of information about Hanne.

In 1222 we meet Hanne, a former policewoman, after she had been paralyzed in a shooting a few years earlier. She is traveling to an appointment with a spinal specialist and finds taking the train to be an easier way to travel than going by air. Flying for Hanne is a complete nightmare. The train is much simpler except that this train derailed and crashed.

Written in the first person, we view everything through Hanne’s eyes. My first impression of Hanne was that she’s not very likable. She doesn’t like people, doesn’t go out much and wants to be left alone. As the story progresses more background information is revealed about Hanne’s personal life — she is a lesbian, has a Muslim partner and a young daughter — and we learn about the shooting that caused her paralysis. She becomes more personable and I began to like her a lot more.

The story had the feel of an homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Guests are stranded in a hotel and there is an unidentified murderer on the premises. The blizzard’s increasing intensity left the guests with no means of escape. It was a well-written mystery with many potential suspects. The suspense was a slow build but there wasn’t a lot of urgency or tension; the hotel had plenty of food and provided shelter from the storm.

There was also a second mystery, a subplot, concerning a mysterious group of people in the last car of the train. They received special treatment, were taken out of the wreckage first and had separate quarters at the hotel. Who were these people? There was much speculation, everything from the royal family to a high level prisoner in transit.

I have the book in both audio and print and listened to the majority of it. If you have to choose one format, I highly recommend the audio production, expertly performed by Kate Reading. Her voice for Hanne had a serious tone and a slightly hard edge just as I imagined she would sound. The other characters were portrayed equally well and she moved the story along at a tense, even pace.

In the end, while the murder mystery was solved, there was no clear answer to the second mystery and the question of who was in the last train car. Perhaps the answer will come in a future novel since this is a series. Other than that omission, this novel worked well as a stand alone mystery.

Source: Review copy
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Jul 30 2013 9:57 am

    It is curious that the secondary mystery was left unsolved. Hanne sounds like an interesting character.


    • Leslie / Jul 30 2013 10:04 am

      She does and I would like to read some of the earlier books. I checked and the first few have been translated into english so I may have to give them a read.


  2. Suko / Jul 30 2013 12:40 pm

    Thanks for a good review, Leslie! I am on a short blogging break for a few days!


  3. irene / Jul 30 2013 4:06 pm

    thanks for your review


  4. stacybuckeye / Aug 6 2013 11:08 pm

    I’ve seen some good reviews of this one, but I just can’t jump in in the middle of a series.


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