Norwegian author Jorn Lier Horst continues his Code Case Quartet with The Cabin

  • The Cabin, by Jorn Lier Horst. Michael Joseph. $32.99.

Award winning Norwegian author Jorn Lier Horst is best known, in the English reading world, for his detective Chief Inspector William Wisting, played by Sven Nordin in the TV adaptation shown on SBS.

The Cabin is the second in Lier Horst's Cold Case Quartet following The Katharina Code, which won the 2019 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel.

In The Cabin, Wisting is called to a meeting with the Director General of Public Prosecution to discuss events that have unfolded after the death of Bernard Clausen, a former Labour Party MP and minister in a number of governments.

Both Clausen's wife and son have tragically predeceased him and therefore Clausen's next of kin is a political colleague, Walter Krom.

When Krom visits Clausen's summer cabin in Stavern to collect sensitive documents, he discovers a number of cardboard boxes filled with foreign currency, euros, dollars and British pounds - approximately 5 million of each, the equivalent of ten million Norwegian kroner.

The director general wants Wisting to find out where the money came from because the cabin is in his police district and because "you're more than cut out for it. This has to be a confidential investigation. National interests may well be in jeopardy".

Wisting, together with Espen Mortensen, "an energetic and versatile crime scene technician who could be relied on not to talk to others", retrieves the money from the cabin.

When counted, the total is the equivalent of 80 million kroner.

The case takes a different turn when the director reveals to Wisting that he has received an anonymous tip-off connecting Clausen with the Gjersjo Case of 2003. Twenty-year-old Simon Meier was reported missing, believed drowned, when fishing at Lake Gjersjo. His body has never been found.

Two questions then drive the plot. Why would a politician like Bernard Clausen, considered by many to be a man of integrity and principles have such a large sum of money hidden in his summer cabin? Equally, how could such a man be involved in the possible murder of a young man almost fifteen years ago?

Wisting's team increases as the investigation starts to reveal answers. Wisting recruits his freelance journalist daughter Line to ask questions about Clausen where he can't " in order to bring out fresh, previously unknown aspects of his character".

Lier Horst's style reflects Wisting's calm methodical character, but the narrative pace increases and the tension builds as Line's investigative indiscretions threaten her life and the success of Wisting's investigation.

This story Steady tone belies tension in classic Nordic noir first appeared on The Canberra Times.