In the last of the Norwegian writer's Hanne Wilhelmsen series, Wilhelmsen's protege Detective Henrik Holme looks into a potential wrongful murder conviction from a case more than 15 years earlier that might be connected to a different kidnapping and suicide.
As to whether the multifaceted and somewhat difficult Oslo detective fades into the sunset or passes tragically, you are going to have to read the book to find out. However, there are many other reasons to pick it up, including sharp characterization, brilliant plotting and a pair of puzzling mysteries, all of which play out against the background ticking of a loud plot. It seems that author Anne Holt (with an assist in the form of a fine translation by Anne Bruce) has saved the very best for last ... an exceedingly clever work that demands to be read in one sitting ... Things aren’t entirely resolved until the book’s very last sentence, but don’t you dare peek and spoil it all for yourself. It’s an ending worth waiting for.
Ms. Holt’s mystery—ably translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce —offers more than a tricky plot. There is also fascination in seeing Ms. Holt enter the minds of characters troubled and admirable alike—and of seeing the admittedly conceited Hanne grow less self-centered and more generous in her treatment of Henrik, who himself comes more into his own and even discovers the fulcrum on which the two deaths turn. If In Dust and Ashes is indeed the last we’ll read of Hanne Wilhelmsen, maybe it will also mark the beginning of our deeper acquaintance with a more accomplished, self-confident Henrik Holme.