Review: Gunnar Staalesen – We Shall Inherit the Wind

We Shall Inherit the Wind BF AW.inddGunnar Staalesen is a Norwegian author whose books haven’t had the attention that they deserve in the UK. Only a few have been translated into English leaving us with a tantalising glimpse into what looks like an excellent series. Now, however, Staalesen has a brand new English publisher, Orenda Books, and his first translation in a number of years, We Shall Inherit the Wind. It’s been worth the wait.

It’s 1998 and private investigator, Varg Veum, is at the bedside of Karin, his seriously injured girlfriend, in a Bergen hospital. Blaming himself for the attack, he takes the reader to the beginning of the story and his investigation into the disappearance of Mons Maeland. Maeland is reported missing by his wife who believes his disappearance may be connected to his desire to build a wind farm on his island. But there is already a mystery connected to the place.  Maeland’s first wife disappeared in the 1980s and is believed to have drowned although no body was ever discovered. The two strands of the case come together when a body is discovered and the realities of environmental activism are revealed.

Staalesen’s greatest strength is the quality of his writing. The incidental asides and observations are wonderful and elevate the book from a straightforward murder investigation into something more substantial. It’s soberly written but compelling story of passion and revenge.

Varg Veum is rightly revered in Bergen and he fits into the classic lone investigator role. It is his personality that carries the narrative and his relationship with Karin, which is gradually recalled in loving detail as she lies mortally wounded, is a moving part of the plot.

We Shall Inherit the Wind fits well with the other books by Staalesen that have been translated into English. Despite gaps in the series, there is a sense of continuity and I can’t wait to read more of this excellent writer’s work.

Thanks to Orenda for my review copy. The translation was by Don Bartlett.

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9 thoughts on “Review: Gunnar Staalesen – We Shall Inherit the Wind

  1. So good to hear that Orenda is making some of these books available in English, Sarah. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Staalsen, and I know you’re a fan. I have to confess I’ve not yet dipped a toe in. But with more of his work coming out in English, I may have the chance, and that’s great.

  2. The book sounds very good; I would like to find something in the series. (This one isn’t available in the US in paper format yet.) I will look around and see what I can find.

  3. Sounds great Sarah, will definitely pick this up – sorry to ask, but is this a stand-alone or is it part of a series? I got a bit confused and am always keen, if it matters, to start as early in a series as I can – sorry if I’m being thick 🙂

  4. Pingback: We Shall Inherit the Wind – Gunnar Staalesen | Novel Heights

  5. Pingback: Review: We Shall Inherit the Wind by Gunnar Staalesen | A Crime is Afoot

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