The 25-year-old case of a missing girl sees Varg Veum dig deep into the past to find her kidnapper, as the secrets and lies of a tiny community threaten everything … Gunnar Staalesen’s award-winning, international bestselling Varg Veum series continues in this chilling Nordic Noir thriller.
***WINNER of the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year***
'Mature and captivating’ Herald Scotland
‘One of the finest Nordic novelists – in the tradition of Henning Mankell’ Barry Forshaw, Independent
‘Masterful pacing’ Publishers Weekly
September 1977. Mette Misvær, a three-year-old girl disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Her tiny, close middle-class community in the tranquil suburb of Nordas is devastated, but their enquiries and the police produce nothing. Curtains twitch, suspicions are raised, but Mette is never found.
Almost 25 years later, as the expiry date for the statute of limitations draws near, Mette’s mother approaches PI Varg Veum, in a last, desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter. As Veum starts to dig, he uncovers an intricate web of secrets, lies and shocking events that have been methodically concealed. When another brutal incident takes place, a pattern begins to emerge…
Shocking, unsettling and full of extraordinary twists and turns, Where Roses Never Die reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.
Praise for Gunnar Staalesen
'There is a world-weary existential sadness that hangs over his central detective. The prose is stripped back and simple … deep emotion bubbling under the surface – the real turmoil of the characters’ lives just under the surface for the reader to intuit, rather than have it spelled out for them’ Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue
‘Gunnar Staalesen is one of my very favourite Scandinavian authors. Operating out of Bergen in Norway, his private eye, Varg Veum, is a complex but engaging anti-hero. Varg means “wolf ” in Norwegian, and this is a series with very sharp teeth’ Ian Rankin
‘Staalesen continually reminds us he is one of the finest of Nordic novelists’ Financial Times
‘Staalesen does a masterful job of exposing the worst of Norwegian society in this highly disturbing entry’ Publishers Weekly
'The Varg Veum series is more concerned with character and motivation than spectacle, and it’s in the quieter scenes that the real drama lies’ Herald Scotland
'Every inch the equal of his Nordic confreres Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo' Independent
‘With an expositional style that is all but invisible, Staalesen masterfully compels us from the first pages … If you’re a fan of Varg Veum, this is not to be missed, and if you’re new to the series, this is one of the best ones. You’re encouraged to jump right in, even if the Norwegian names can be a bit confusing to follow’ Crime Fiction Lover
‘With short, smart, darkly punchy chapters ... a provocative and gripping read’ LoveReading
‘Haunting, dark and totally noir, a great read’ New Books Magazine
‘An upmarket Philip Marlowe’ Maxim Jakubowski, The Bookseller
‘Razor-edged Scandinavian crime fiction at its finest’ Quentin Bates
While many current Scandinavian mystery authors produce procedurals featuring world-weary and emotionally disturbed police detectives, Staalesen follows the hard-boiled PI tradition, as shown by the stunning 18th entry in his series starring Varg Veum (after 2015's We Shall Inherit the Wind). In 1977, three-year-old Mette Misvaer went missing from her home in a suburb of Bergen, Norway. Nearly 25 years later, as the statute of limitations approaches, Mette's desperate mother asks Veum to see whether he can figure out what happened to her daughter. Veum, a former child-welfare officer, relentlessly tracks down clues, which oddly connect Mette's disappearance to a jewelry store robbery in 2001. Meanwhile, Veum, who's in his late 50s, battles incipient alcoholism and guilt over the loss of his lover, Karin, who has been dead three years. Having always felt that harming a child is the worst of crimes, Veum pursues what may be his most important case, one that proves the wry comment of his old adversary, Inspector Muus: "You never know what lurks behind closed doors."
Such a wonderful read. Could barely put it down.
New fan of Scandicrime
Actual rating 4.5*
Where Roses Never Die is the 16th Varg Veum novel but this is the first I’ve read – in fact it’s the first proper Scandi-crime novel I’ve read! I know some people who are currently giving me a virtual slap for that comment! But you'll be pleased to know I'm sold! I've got a few Scandi-crime books sat patiently waiting on my kindle so I'll try not to put off reading them for too long.
I loved seeing the Norwegian letters ø and å scattered through the novel. Admittedly I have no idea how the place names are pronounced that they feature in.
I don't know if it's a Norwegian saying or something the author has created but the phrase "My mouth was as dry as a school sponge at the end of the school holidays" really stood out to me. It gives a great image as to the thirst of Veum both for fluid and for something stronger.
At points I felt the book was reminiscent of Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama; this could possibly down to the similar story of a historic child disappearance, or that's because it's translated it's in a more "proper" version of English than I normally read.
The author definitely keeps you guessing; what does an armed robbery linked with the old case of the disappearance of a young girl?? Veum is drawn into both investigations unable to separate off the armed robbery from his mission of uncovering the truth about the disappearance.
A huge thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of Where Roses Never Die. I well and truly popped my Scandi-crime cherry with this fabulous book!