Lethal Investments by Kjell Ola Dahl trns by Don Bartlett

Today I am sharing my thoughts on the last of the books in my Oslo Detectives catch up, Lethal Investments by Kjell Ola Dahl. Although this was the first book published in Norway, this was the fourth of the English translations and so I have chosen to read in the. UK publication order. it’s made it an interesting reading experience as you can definitely tell the changes in the timeline from four back to one. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Amazon

About the Book

An apartment building. A woman clearing up the mess her three-year-old son has made on the stairway. A child staring into an open doorway. The naked leg of a woman sticking out of that doorway. Blood. A woman’s scream.

Reidun Rosendal’s murder presents Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frolich with their most intriguing case yet. And the mystery deepens when the chief suspect, Reidun’s lover, is also found murdered.

As the investigation proceeds the focus shifts to Reidun’s place of work, Software Partners, where the business and the private lives of the characters intermesh in ways that become lethal.

K. O. Dahl’s stories are propelled by compelling narratives where the final twist is always satisfying.

My Thoughts

I have really enjoyed catching up on this series. The more I read, the more I understand about the Detectives, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, the. clearer the picture I have of them in my head. And I really do like them. They may be contrasting characters, not just in age, but also in outlook, but they work well together and both have the drive to get to the truth of the investigation. And this one is pretty complex, hampered by a group of potential witnesses and suspects who make dishonesty an art form.

After the body of a young sales executive is found in her apartment, the victim of a very bloody attack, our two Detectives are drawn into a world of computer technology, speculative sales and the very complex romantic liaisons of their victim. Her latest partner is undoubtedly a suspect in her murder, but with more than the odd admirer not only in her workplace but in her neighbourhood too, the truth is far more complex but at the same time perhaps the most common motive of all.

What I like about these books is the way that as readers we are drawn deep into the investigation. This is a complex case with a number of threads that link to some very suspect and unsavoury characters. The author, as always, does an excellent job of establishing those characters and thereby unveiling potential motives for the murder. There are a number of elements to this story which are slowly revealed to readers, but I must admit that as soon as I learned more of what the victim did for a living, I had an inkling as to where the story would lead. The book still held my attention though as whilst the potential why might have been obvious, the who definitely wasn’t. You could tell from the start that something ominous was about to happen and, when it did, I was intrigued to see how it would wrap up, not expecting quite such a dramatic showdown at the end.

When reading, you do need to give some thought to the time at which this book was originally written and set. Today, you would think nothing about tech start-ups and new Apps and computer programmes almost seem ten a penny. The book was originally written in 1993, and so in that context, the whole idea of a tech firm, and development of investments into the industry, rings true and makes a perfect backdrop for the story.

The writing in this book is excellent, as is the translation, bringing both character and setting to life. From Gunnarstranda’s love of botanics, to Frølich’s relationship with Eva-Britt, I feel like I know the characters much better now and have a better handle on the nature of their working relationship, which changed so much over the course of the final few books in the series I read.

About the Author

Kjell Ola Dahl was born in the city Gjovik, in Norway in 1958, but grew up in Oslo. Dahl was a teacher and social adviser in High school when he started to write the Oslo Detectives series. Two times Dahl has won the Riverton-prize, the Norwegian National prize for the best novel of crime fiction (in 2000 and in 2015). He won the prestigious Brage-prize for the Courier, a standalone novel of crime fiction set in Norway and Sweden during World War II and in 1967. The first book in the series of the Oslo Detectives – Lethal investments – was published in in Norway 1993.

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