Death of a Demon by Anne Holt

Title: Death of a Demon
Author: Anne Holt
Genre: Crime
Source: Library
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Death of the Demon (Hanne Wilhelmsen)

What is it About?

Olav is an obese boy of 12 or so who is moved into a children’s home after continuous problems at home.  He is not a pleasant child, scaring the other children and rebelling against the strict rules of the homes Director, Agnes Vestavik. Not long after Agnes stops Olav eating outside of set mealtimes, she is found dead, av kitchen knife in her back, and Olav goes missing. Enter Hanne Wilhelmsen, newly promoted Superintendent in Oslo police, who thinks she will find the killer amongst the orphanage staff and that Olav’s disappearance is a result of his having seen the murderer not anything else and passes his case to another team.

What did I think?

This is the third in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series of books, but the fourth that I have read as they have been printed out-of-order. The first I read was 1222, which I thought was excellent. Since then, I have read the first and second novels (in order) The Blind Goddess and Blessed are Those that Thirst. Both were good, with tight plot lines and a compelling central character. I expected, therefore, good things from Death of the Demon. Not necessarily great, but good. I was sorely disappointed.

Hanne and her team seem to be completely clueless from start to finish. She seems to spend a lot of time getting annoyed with herself and her team because she is missing something and her second in command, Billy, doesn’t seem to do any detecting at all; given that there is a teenage boy on the run after a murder, it is surprising how little attention is paid to finding him.

The lack of attention paid to Olav is the most frustrating of all my issues with the book. It seems obvious he must have played a greater role than just witnessing the murder given how prominent he is from page one (and how his story takes up half the book) and yet Hanne and Billy basically ignore his disappearance. I got to the end of the book and thought, “well if you’d just looked for him in the first place!”. Of course, there wouldn’t have been a book then…probably not a bad thing in this case.

I have to say, looking at Good Reads I may be in the minority on his one. Have you read it? Am I being too harsh?


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