‘Blessed Are Those Who Thirst’ is the second novel in Anne Holt’s series featuring Oslo police detective Hanne Wilhelmsen. Like many people, I first discovered Anne Holt when the 8th book in this series – ‘1222’ was shortlisted for the 2012 Edgar Award and I have eagerly awaited the English translations of the rest of the series – ‘Blind Goddess’ and ‘Blessed are those Who Thirst’ in 2012 and the third book ‘Death of the Demon’ due in mid-2013.
This book is set during a spring heatwave in Oslo, and the crime wave has gone as crazy as the weather. Everyone in the police force is overworked, so Hanne is not too sure what to do about her two most recent cases.
Hanne has been called out to investigate an abandoned which looks like a slaughterhouse. There is blood everywhere, but there is no body. And, until she can verify that the blood is human, she’s not sure that there has even been a crime committed. A seven digit number has been painted on the wall in blood. The next week another slaughterhouse, complete with it’s own seven digit number is discovered.
The other case she is investigating is the brutal rape of a young medical student. The clearance rate for rape cases in Norway is extremely low and with the limited information that the victim – Kristine is able to provide, Hanne does not like her chances of catching and convicting the rapist. But Kristine and her father have had their lives destroyed by the rape, so they decide to take matters into their own hands.
Eventually the slaughterhouses are found to contain human blood and the significance of the seven digit numbers is discovered. Hanne also links the slaughterhouse murderer to Kristine’s rapist.
So now the race is on – who will find the murderer first – Hanne and the Oslo police or Kristine and her father.
The plot of this book was brilliant. The background story of Hanne’s personal life is also very entertaining – she is a lesbian, living with her partner, who has kept her personal life completely secret from her family and her work colleagues.
I love this book and can’t wait for the next in the series – ‘Death of the Demon’ to be released.
Book Published 1994
Published in English 2012