23rd April 2017
Gallows Drop by Mari Hannah, crime thriller set in Northumberland (“a real hanging suspense”) ...
Cursed by Thomas Enger (translated by Kari Dickson) – a noir thriller set in and around Oslo.
A big thank you to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for asking TripFiction to kick off the Cursed blog tour…
Nora Klemetsen and Henning Juul (both journalists) used to be married. The had a son, Jonas – for whose sake they maintained a civil relationship until they eventually split. Jonas was killed in a fire in the apartment where he was staying with his father – who had perhaps drunk a little too much on the evening in question before he fell asleep. The fire was, though, deliberately set. Henning takes a sabbatical from his work to probe who had killed his son… He suspects the involvement of Tori Pulli – a somewhat dubious property developer with an unsavoury criminal past. Henning was investigating him, and the fire could have been his ‘revenge’. Pulli denies he set the fire, but does a deal with Henning. He was falsely imprisoned for a murder he did not commit – and offers the name of the person who ordered the fire in return for Henning establishing the truth about his imprisonment. Henning fulfils his side of the bargain, but Pulli is murdered in prison. Henning carries on his investigation with the ‘help’ of the enforcers of the Oslo underworld – a far from savoury bunch.
Meanwhile Nora is approached by Hugo Refsdal, the husband of Hedda Hellberg – with whom she had shared a flat at university several years previously. Hedda has planned a three week retreat in Italy, but has never caught her flight – and indeed, as it turns out, has never made any bookings. She has simply disappeared on the arrival at Oslo Airport – supposedly to check in. The police suspect an elaborate suicide plot, but Hugo says this would have been completely out of character. He asks Nora to publicise the disappearance in her paper – and to ask questions on his behalf.
Nora gets involved with the Hellberg family in the course of her investigation. Hedda’s father, Oscar, had died recently – and many family tensions had come to the fore. It turns out there had been an extra-marital affair (within the family) and a dispute over his will. Had, in fact, Hedda’s aunt Ellen (who had died a few years’ previously at the family’s summer house) committed suicide as was thought at the time, or had she been killed? And what, if anything, was the family connection with Daniel Schyman who had recently been murdered with a hunting gun in Sweden? And, important question, how did Hellberg Property (the family firm) start off in life? Were its beginnings somewhat murky?
Nora’s and Henning’s investigations come together when it is established that Tori Pulli has been an enforcer for Hellberg Property in its early days. They work with local police inspector, Cato Løken, to get to the bottom of Daniel Schyman’s death and Hedda’s disappearance. The book moves to a thrilling and scary conclusion. No more for fear of a spoiler.
No doubt that Cursed is a very well written (and very well translated) book in the best traditions of Nordic noir. Thomas Enger is up there with the very best.
Tony for the TripFiction team
And for more books set in NORWAY, just click here (And drill down to Ager County, Bergen, Lofoten, Norwegian Fjords, Oslo, Stavanger, Svalbard, Tromøy and Vestfold…