Review: Death of the Demon, by Anne Holt


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo.

Corvus, 2013. Kindle edition. First published in the United States in 2013 by Scribner. Translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce. Originally published as Demonens død in 1995. 471 KB. E-book ISBN: 978-0-85789-234-8. ASIN: B00CNVOLT0. 288 pages.

Death of the Demon

Death of the Demon has reminded me the Golden Age’s detective novels, more particularly the novels by Agatha Christie. The story line is quite simple, Agnes Vestavik, director of the Spring Sunshine Foster Home, has been found dead in her office. She was murdered. Almost simultaneously a twelve-year-old troublesome boy, Olav Hakonsen, has run away. He was punished not to receive his mother’s visits over the next fortnight. Hanne Wilhelmsen has just been promoted to Chief Inspector and is in charge of the case, .

‘Only the very worst cases landed up here. In Norway, children who for one reason or another were unable to grow up with their biological parents were expected to be placed in individual foster homes….It was easy to find such homes for babies. Fairly straightforward as far as toddlers were concerned, up until about school-age. Then it suddenly become far more difficult. as a rule, however, they managed it. Except for the very worst cases. The ones that were so demanding, so damaged, so broken by their lives and their useless parents that no ordinary family could be expected to cope with the responsibility. These ended up with Agnes.’

There is no shortage of suspects. The eleven members of the staff, including Terje Welby the assistant director, Maren Kalsvik who holds the  position of ‘de facto’ deputy director and Eirik Vassbunn who was the one who found the body. Furthermore both Agnes’ husband and her lover have their reasons for doing so.

Besides it’s imperative to find the missing child. His life may be in danger and perhaps he may have witnessed something or can provide an important clue.

As the story unfolds we come to know more aspects of Hanne’s private life and the difficulties she faces in adapting to her new responsibilities, particularly she must improve her relationship with her subordinates.

Death of the Demon is the third instalment in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series. My reviews of the two previous books can be found HERE and HERE. For my taste Death of the Demon is far more interesting than I was expecting. Maybe it starts at a slow pace but gradually is able to grab the reader’s attention. In any case, the patience of the reader will be rewarded. The story will spur our interest providing some food for thought about the role society as a whole, all of us, have to play in the education of our children. True to her style, Holt tells the story from different points of view of some of the characters. A rewarding reading and an excellent addition to the series. Certainly a recommended reading.     

My rating: 4/5.

Death of the Demon has been reviewed at Crime Scraps Review (Norman), FictionFan’s Book Reviews, Ms. Wordopolis Reads (Rebecca), Crimepieces (Sarah)   

Corvus

Simon & Schuster

Salomonsson Agency

La muerte del Demonio, de Anne Holt

La muerte del Demonio me ha recordado a las novelas de detectives de la Edad de Oro, más concretamente a las novelas de Agatha Christie. La historia es bastante simple, Agnes Vestavik , la directora del hogar de acogida El Sol de Primavera, ha aparecido muerta en su oficina. Ha sido asesinada. Casi al mismo tiempo un chico problemático de doce años de edad, Olav Hakonsen, se ha escapado. Él habia sido castigado a no recibir la visita de su madre durante los próximos quince días. Hanne Wilhelmsen acaba se ser ascendida a Inspectora Jefe y se hace cargo del caso.

“Sólo los peores casos han llegado hasta aquí. En Noruega, se espera que los niños que por una u otra razón no pueden crecer con sus padres biológicos sean colocados en hogares de individuales de acogida …. Era fácil encontrar este tipo de acomodo a los bebés. Bastante sencillo por lo que se refiere a niños pequeños,  hasta cerca de la edad escolar. Entonces de pronto por regla general, comienza a ser mucho más difícil, sin embargo, lo consiguieron. Excepto en los peores casos. Los que eran tan exigentes, o estaban tan dañados, tan rotos por su vida y sus inútiles padres que no se podia esperar de ninguna familia normal que aceptara esa responsabilidad. Estos acababan con Agnes.”

No hay escasez de sospechosos. Los once miembros del personal, incluyendo a Terje Welby, el asistente de la directora, Maren Kalsvik que ocupa el puesto “de facto” de subdirectora, y Eirik Vassbunn que fue quien encontró encontró el cuerpo. Además tanto el marido de Agnes como su amante tienen motivos para hacerlo.

Por otra parte resulta imprescindible encontrar al niño que se ha escapado. Su vida puede estar en peligro y tal vez pudo haber sido testigo de algo o dar una pista importante.

Conforme se desarrolla la historia, llegamos a conocer más aspectos de la vida privada de Hanne y las dificultades a las que se enfrenta para adaptarse a sus nuevas responsabilidades, sobre todo ella debe mejorar su relación con sus subordinados.

La muerte del Demonio es la tercera entrega de la serie Hanne Wilhelmsen. Mis comentarios de los dos libros anteriores se pueden encontrar AQUÍ y AQUÍ. Para mi gusto La muerte del Demonio es mucho más interesante de lo que esperaba. Tal vez comienza a un ritmo lento pero poco a poco es capaz de captar la atención del lector. En cualquier caso, la paciencia del lector será recompensada . La historia va a estimular nuestro interés proporcionando algunos elementos de reflexión sobre el papel que la sociedad en su conjunto, todos nosotros, tenemos que desempeñar en la educación de nuestros hijos. Una lectura gratificante y un excelente complemento a la serie. Fiel a su estilo, Holt cuenta la historia desde diferentes puntos de vista de algunos de los personajes. Sin duda, una lectura recomendable.

Mi calificación: 4/5.

11 thoughts on “Review: Death of the Demon, by Anne Holt

  1. José Ignacio – I’m glad you found this an interesting mystery. That’s one of the keys I think of Golden-Age and Golden-Age-style novels: an interesting puzzle. And of course, from my perspective, the whole theme of how we educate is fascinating… An excellent review as ever.

  2. Thanks for the link. I really enjoyed this book too, and I’m a little impatient for more translations to come out. It seems like she had a three-book publishing deal.

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