Anne Holt is Norway’s bestselling female crime writer and with A Grave for Two it is very easy to understand why. While still being part of the Scandi Noir genre, this is not as dark as some and most of the names are not tongue twisters.

Selma Falack’s life has come crashing down around her, she finds herself in a small apartment that even her cat does not like. She is about to be reported and lose her lawyers licence and is going nowhere fast. Her former client and the person responsible for her downfall rings her door and offers her away out of the predicament she is in, if he helps her. Jan Morell’s daughter, Hege, a champion cross-country skier all set for the Winter Olympics, has been found to have broken the doping controls.

Jan challenges Selma to find out who has sabotaged Hege and get her back in the running for the Olympic Games. If she does that, he will stop his investigation and not tell the world she embezzled money from him.

When a male skier whom Hege knows is found dead and his post-mortem shows there is a link between the cases, Selma discovers a sinister web of corruption, lies and scandals in a highly competitive sport. It did not help that the sport’s federation had built a glass palace, sat high on a hill and everybody seemed to have their hands in the till. The stories never came out, but it would be only a matter of time.

Seemingly going nowhere, Selma realises that she needs to see the bigger picture and who actually gains from the super-star athletes being banned. Following the death of a photographer, little does Selma realise how close she is to death herself.

Anne Holt likes to leave clues as to who the perpetrator may be while weaving an intricate thriller, whether you can solve the question of whodunnit before the reveal is the big question.

This for a Scandi noir thriller is a great read, her narrative is perfect, and the energy of her writing is second to none. There is not even a cliché in sight.

Paul Diggett 5/5

A Grave for Two by Anne Holt
Corvus 9781786498694 hbk Jul 2019