CHAMELEON PEO­PLE BY HANS OLAV LAHLUM

Crime Scene - - POST MORTEM - BY HANS OLAV LAHLUM By BARRY FOR­SHAW

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.

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