Friday, 13 January 2017

Blind Goddess by Anne Holt

Blind Goddess is the first book in the series featuring detective Hanne Wilhelmsen and Håkon Sand, police attorney.  This book was published in Norway in 1993 but only translated into English in 2012. 

Karen Borg, a commercial lawyer, finds a body in an Oslo park when she is out running with her dog. When the police arrest the suspect, a young Dutchman, he asks for Karen to represent him regardless of the fact that she is not a criminal lawyer.  As the story unfolds we find out that there is corruption at the highest levels of Norwegian society.

Although the book was written in an age before mobile phones and computers, this did not detract from the story.  In fact it showed how much police work is very mundane and boring and dependent on human intuition and ability.  The book illustrated some differences between the Norwegian legal system and the British one.

I liked the character of Hanne – she seemed to be very efficient but also caring.  She is quite a mystery to the rest of her colleagues who know nothing about her private life and Hanne is keen to keep it that way.  None of her colleagues know that her partner is a woman.  The author provides very little personal information about Hanne except that she has a pink Harley-Davidson motor bike.  I look forward to finding out more about Hanne as the series progresses.
Although the book was a little slow in the middle section, the pace speeded up towards the end as Hanne and Håkon rush out to the country to get to Karen before the murderer does.

The title comes from the statuette of Lady Justitia which stands on the Commissioner’s desk.  At the end of the book Håkon gets a present of a similar statuette from Karen and the final words in the book are, “The Goddess of Justice had peeped out from behind her thick blindfold.  She had gazed straight at him with one eye, and he could swear that for a split second she had winked.  And smiled.  A wry, enigmatic smile.”  An interesting ending!


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