Monday, 16 June 2014

The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum

 review by Maryom

Oslo 1968 - Inspector Kolbjørn Kristiansen, aka K2, is called to a murder scene in a block of flats. The victim, Harald Olesen, was hero of the Resistance during World War 2 and an unremarkable MP after, so it's difficult to see who would have wished him dead and why. K2 thinks such a high-profile case could be the making of his career, but he soon discovers this isn't going to be a quick easy, open and shut case - and actually begins to wonder if it could be the breaking of his career instead. Fortunately he has help in the shape of Patricia, a young woman confined to a wheelchair following an accident, who, despite hardly ever venturing from home, has more insight into human nature and possible motives for murder than K2. Together they unravel the relationships between the flats' residents, turning up secrets from Olesen's past and a surplus of suspects to pick from.  

This is a classic murder mystery with a limited numbers of suspects, all of them appearing to have no reason to want the victim killed .... until the investigation turns up the skeletons lurking in their pasts - and then there's seemingly no one who wouldn't have wanted him dead!
There are a lot of nods to Agatha Christie classic murder mysteries - the seemingly 'closed' room, the surplus of witnesses who rapidly turn into suspects, a long list of incidents from the victim's past that could be reason for murder and Patricia even quotes Christie as a source of inspiration in untangling the evidence. 
It's told in the first person by K2 in a rather formal, bare style but one which sets the evidence plainly in front of the reader - so pulling me in with my own theories and guesswork which is part of the delight of this style of mystery. 

translated by Kari Dickson

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher -
Mantle (Panmacmillan)

Genre - adult,
murder mystery 


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