Death of the Demon by Anne Holt

‘Death of the Demon’ is the 3rd novel in Anne Holt’s series featuring Oslo police detective Hanne Wilhelmsen. And while written in 1995, this book has only been published in English this year. Since reading the last book in the series ‘1222’, I have waited in anticipation for each of the earlier novels in the series to be translated and published in English.

Olav’s mother has known that there was something wrong with him since his birth. She sought help many times only to be dismissed. Now at the age of 12 Olav has suddenly been taken away from her and placed in care. Olav dislikes the foster home and most of the staff (except for Maren). He particularly dislikes the director Agnes Vestavik.

When Vestavik is found murdered, Olav is only one of the suspects. Even though Olav has gone missing, he is only 12 and the police do not seriously consider that he committed the crime.

Hanne Wilhelmsen has been promoted to chief inspector. She is a brilliant detective, but not such a great boss. Working with Billy T. and two junior detectives, she has difficulties delegating and bringing the group together as a team.

Even so, the police gradually uncover details of the sordid lives of Vestavik, her work colleagues and her family. There was plenty going on under the surface at the foster home – from affairs to fraud and this has turned up a list of suspects in Vestavik’s murder.

There were a few separate stories going on in this book which were seamlessly interwoven:

The struggles of Olav and his mother
The secrets of various staff members at the foster home
Hanne’s battles with her new job
Hanne’s problems with her girlfriend and letting others know about her sexuality.

There was one moment in the book involving Hanne placing her hand on a stack of papers. I almost missed the significance and her colleagues in the story certainly did!

As with the other books that I’ve read in this series, this one was brilliant. I love Anne Holt’s writing and the translations by Anne Bruce are excellent. The main characters – Hanne Wilhemsen, Billy T. and Cecilie are really brought to life. Once again I am waiting for the next book in the series – ‘The Lion’s Mouth’.


Book Published 1995

Published in English 2013



See a full list of books by Anne Holt

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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, Holt, Anne, Series Fiction, Thriller

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