Norwegian lawyer, ex-minister and crime fiction author Anne Holt has become internationally known for two extremely successful crime series: the Hanne Wilhelmsen series with ten installments and the Inger Johanne Vik series with five installments and a much appreciated TV adaptation called Modus.
In A Grave For Two, the first part in a new crime series, Holt delves into the competitive world of distance skiing. The novel is set around the Norwegian skiing world, but focus more on the issue of doping and on the power and money involved in the national sport, than on the athletes.
The lead character Selma Falck is a former Olympic athlete, a successful lawyer and a Norwegian celebrity, but on the opening of the book she has made a real mess of her life. Her gambling has caused her to lose her family, most of her friends and her career. She has reached the bottom and is now living together with her cat in a rundown apartment. She must try to rebuild her life and cannot afford to refuse, when a rich former client offers her a second chance in very special assignment.
Hege Chin Morell, a young world class professional skier, is accused of drug doping, and Selma is hired by her father, to prove her innocence and to find out the truth of what had happened. He demands the daughter to be cleared of the allegations in time for her to qualify for the Olympics, that are only two months away. Selma is rather confused and doesn´t know where to start, when her own godson, another top skier, is found dead after a training accident. It becomes clear to Selma that the national sport has a dark side, that may include corruption, shady connections, and old sins that are never forgotten. As Selma’s race against time begins, she realizes that more lives are at stake…
As a former lawyer, Anne Holt succeed in writing about the procedural details of the investigation with real authenticity, but she also outlines an interesting and unexpected plot, with many twists and turns – and an unexpected ending. You do not have to be interested in sports or skiing to be captured by the story and fascinated by Selma and the characters around her. Selma Falck is a bit self-sufficient but also smart and brave, and I look forward to get to know her better in future stories.