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The book starts with the assassination of a Norwegian MP in a cafe – an attack in which private investigator, Selma Falck, is also hit. Looking for answers about who killed her friend, Selma works sometimes alongside the police, sometimes with journalists and her own contacts to piece together a puzzle that has far-reaching implications for her country. In doing so, she finds her life in danger again as yet more killings threaten to undermine the stability and peace of Norway…

This is the third book in the Selma Falck series and I generally didn’t struggle to pick up the threads of the back story – there are a few characters who clearly are significant in the earlier books but I never felt in the dark at all. The only thing that did confuse me a little was Selma’s celebrity status, which I guess comes from the events of the first two books rather than her PI job. Once you accept that she is famous in Norway – something that both opens and closes doors to her – then you’re good to go.

The book is extremely cleverly plotted – some elements that don’t immediately make sense do come together later in the book so it is worth keeping reading. It does all make sense in the end and the payoff is rewarding – although the length and the complexity of the book means that you do have to pay attention!

I enjoyed the characterisation in the book – Selma is a tough and appealing central figure and I liked the fact that she is a slightly older protagonist as she is in her 50s. The fact she has an unstable relationship with her daughter and grandson add to the realism of her situation and the pressures that the job places on her. I also liked the fact she has a network of people who can help her, even some who skirt the edges of legality and perhaps sanity – Einar, in particular, is a fabulous and eccentric character.

A lot of the book does rely on understanding of Norway’s political system. This is explained well by Holt, but it does make it more complicated for the non-Norwegian reader who perhaps cannot fully understand how high the stakes are in terms of impact and repercussions. I’m a huge fan of Norway as a country though and it was heartening to see a lot of female characters in senior political positions – something that was both totally normalised and a bit eye-opening, to be honest, as this level of representation is more unusual in the UK. Go Norway!

Overall, I’d recommend ‘A Memory for Murder’ to my fellow lovers of Scandinavian crime. If you’re already invested in the setting and like the idea of an older, female investigator then this will definitely tick a lot of boxes for you (as it did for me). My advice is to be patient and accept the loose threads of plot being handed to you – when they do finally come together, it is ultimately very satisfying.