Gripping and very, very clever

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A Memory For Murder (translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce) is the first book I’ve read by Anne Holt but, on the strength of this one, it certainly won’t be the last! Although it’s the third in the author’s Selma Falck series, I didn’t feel at a disadvantage from not having read the previous books. True, there are a few references to events in the earlier books (A Grave For Two and A Necessary Death) but if anything it made me even keener to read them at some point.

I really enjoyed getting to know Selma Falck, even if she’s described as being ‘seldom completely herself’. A former lawyer turned private investigator, she’s also been variously a world class handball player, a social media star and a (mostly reformed) gambling addict. She’s also a grandmother eager to be allowed a closer relationship with her grandson, and that forms a key part of her motivation for finding out exactly who was the target of the sniper attack – her or her friend? – who was responsible and why they did it.

Safe to say, there are plenty of twists and turns in a plot which encompasses stalking, government malpractice, contingency planning, adoption, child welfare policy, investigative journalism and much, much more. It might seem too many topics to cram into one book and still keep the plot moving along and the reader engaged, but Anne Holt manages it – and how! Frequently introducing new characters and different points of view shouldn’t work either, but it does; it’s just more people to either suspect or wonder how they fit into the story. Oh, and never has a round object or an emoji etched in dust been more chilling.

I thought A Memory For Murder was terrific and I simply raced through the pages, admiring the way the author brought all the different threads together to reveal a final picture that’s a good deal darker than you might have expected.