Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen trns by Don Bartlett.

Passing the blog back over to Mandie who is sharing her thoughts on Bitter Flowers, the latest Varg Veum novel from Gunnar Staalesen. I think it’s safe to say we both love the series and this is another classic. You can read my thoughts here. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 20 November 2021 (ebook)
20 January 2022 – Paperback
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when a challenging assignment arrives on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool and a young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Varg Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these apparently unrelated crimes come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking environmental crimes, Varg Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic investigation of his career.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Having played catch up with this series last year I couldn’t wait for this the latest in the Varg Veum series to be published. Just out of rehab for his addictions he has been enlisted to house sit by his physiotherapist Lisbeth for some of her friends. When they arrive at the house they discover a body floating in the pool. While Varg goes to see if he can do anything for the victim Lisbeth disappears putting right back into his old life as an investigator.  As he works alongside the police it becomes evident that the victim is linked to the disappearance of a child several years before. As he digs further into the lives of everyone linked with both events he again finds his life threatened.

Nothing is ever straightforward for Varg, and this case is no exception. This does not deter him from digging into every lead no matter who’s toes he steps on in the process. That is not to say that he deliberately sets out to rub people up the wrong way just that he wants to get to the truth of what happened.

In Bitter Flowers we get to see a bit of a different side to him as he connects with Siv, a young woman who due to an unfortunate accident now lives in a slightly different world. She takes a liking to Varg and in her moments of clarity she alludes to things from the past. I really enjoyed the interactions between them as they gave the story a realistic human element to them, and you are left wondering right to the end if her accident really was just that.

Despite the dual investigations going on the story flowed perfectly. Gunnar Staalesen has produced something that merges murder, disappearances, and company intrigue seamlessly, just as you think you know who was responsible and for what you are proved wrong. It is this that will keep you turning page after page not wanting the book to end.  The only downside for me is that now I am fully up to date with the series I am going to have to wait patiently to see what is in store for Varg Veum next.

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour). Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted for the award in 2019. He lives with his wife in Bergen.

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