MYSTERY

Wolves at the Door

Orenda. (Varg Veum, Bk. 20). Jan. 2020. 276p. ISBN 9781912374410. pap. $15.95. M
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On a cold, dark Sunday evening in January in Bergen, Norway, private investigator Varg Veum is almost run over outside his client’s house. While it’s possible the driver did not see him, Veum has a worrisome thought. Included in a group of four men arrested for distributing child pornography (the charges against him were subsequently dropped), Veum wonders whether there is a connection, since two of the men recently died under suspicious circumstances. Although forensic reports ruled out murder, Veum draws a different conclusion. He requests local police, with whom he is familiar, to reopen the death investigations, while he also investigates. Much of the book deals with Veum visiting the ex-wives, children, partners, and associates of the deceased men, along the way discovering that pornography was the tip of a more dangerous and repugnant iceberg. Veum is tenacious in his investigation, visiting protagonists repeatedly with more questions, à la Columbo.
VERDICT Although this 20th “Varg Veum” mystery (after Wolves in the Dark), only some of which are available in English, stands alone, reading the backstory from its predecessor would be helpful. Action takes place primarily in the denouement, but the series’ signature strengths of well-developed characters and a engaging story line are on full display.

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