CHAMELEON PEOPLE BY HANS OLAV LAHLUM
Hans Olav Lahlum’s Satellite People was a beguiling homage to Agatha Christie, adding a Nordic twist to classic British crime fiction tropes. Strong characterisation, a focused plot and a growing sense of menace kept the reader guessing until the dénouement.
Chameleon People is the fourth murder mystery in the series featuring Inspector Kolbein Kristiansen (known as K2) and Patricia, his wheelchair-bound associate. It maintains the momentum of its predecessors (which also include The Human Flies and The Catalyst Killing) while, inevitably, losing a smidgen of the initial freshness. Nevertheless, the narrative exerts a considerable grip.
A young cyclist rings on Inspector Kristiansen’s doorbell; he is being pursued by the detective’s Oslo Police colleagues. In his pocket is a bloody knife, matching the stab wounds of a politician killed nearby. As with every open-and-shut case in crime fiction, there is more to this than meets the eye – and one thing particularly troubles K2: why would a murderer call at the house of a policeman after a brutal crime? Once again there is a pleasing synthesis between edgy modern police procedural and the more ordered world of the Golden Age. If you enjoyed Lahlum’s earlier books, don’t hesitate.