Hanne Wilhelmsen Books in Order: How to read Anne Holt’s Series?

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Crime novels written by Norwegian author Anne Holt, this series follows the investigations of Hanne Wilhelmsen, a police detective in Oslo, Norway. She’s a deeply introspective and highly skilled investigator who’s struggling with personal demons and inner turmoil. Throughout the series, Hanne Wilhelmsen confronts a wide range of criminal activities, including murder, kidnapping, political corruption, and organized crime.

How to Read the Hanne Wilhelmsen Series in Order?

Every entry in the Hanne Wilhelmsen book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.

  1. The Blind Goddess –  A drug dealer is battered to death on the outskirts of Oslo. A young Dutch student, covered in blood, walks aimlessly through the streets of central Oslo. He is taken into custody but refuses to speak. Five days later a shady criminal lawyer called Hans Olsen is murdered. The two deaths don’t seem related, but Hanne Wilhelmsen is unconvinced. Soon, she uncovers a link between the bodies: Olsen defended the drug dealer. But powerful forces are working against Hanne; a conspiracy that reaches far beyond a crooked lawyer and a small-time dealer. The investigation will take her into the offices of the most powerful men in Norway – and even put her own life at risk…
  2. Blessed Are Those Who Thirst – The Oslo police are baffled. Crime scenes are being found covered with blood, but there is no victim. Only an odd series of numbers is left behind. When a girl is brutally raped in her apartment. Detective Hanne Wilhelmsen is charged with solving the case. Hanne quickly notices strange similarities with the blood-stained crime scenes. But the victim’s father has started an independent hunt for the rapist… and Hanne will have to race against time to prevent a victim from becoming a vigilante.
  3. Death of the Demon – In an orphanage outside Oslo, a twelve-year-old boy is causing havoc. The institution’s ageing director, Agnes Vestavik, sees something chilling in Olav’s eyes: sheer hatred. When Vestavik is found murdered at her desk late at night, stabbed in the neck with a kitchen knife – with Olav nowhere to be found – the case goes to Hanne Wilhelmsen, recently promoted to superintendent in the Oslo police. Hanne suspects that Olav witnessed the murder and fled, and she orders an investigation of the orphanage staff. But this, however, is one case where her instincts are leading her astray.
  1. The Lion’s Mouth – Less than six months after taking office, the Norwegian Prime Minister is found dead. She has been shot in the head. Was it a politically motivated assassination or personal revenge? Hanne Wilhelmsen, chief inspector of the Oslo police, is on leave in California, but when the death shakes the country to its core, she knows she can’t remain on the sidelines of such a crucial investigation. The hunt for the Prime Minister’s killer is complicated, intense, and grueling. When secrets begin to unravel from the Prime Minister’s past, Hanne and her partner, Billy T., must solve the crime before a private tragedy becomes a public scandal in the most sensitive case of their careers.
  2. Dead Joker – Chief Public Prosecutor Sigurd Halvorsrud’s wife is found brutally decapitated in front of the fireplace in the family living room. Her husband, who claims he witnessed the grisly murder and is himself covered in blood, immediately falls under suspicion, though he insists his wife’s killer was Ståle Salvesen, a businessman he’d prosecuted years before for insider dealing. Detective Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is called in to lead the investigation with her old colleague, Billy T. Despite the circumstantial evidence, Hanne is unconvinced of Sigurd Halvorsrud’s guilt—that is, until a witness says he saw Ståle Salvesen commit suicide by jumping off a bridge days before the murder took place. Then a journalist at one of Oslo’s largest newspapers is found beheaded…
  3. No Echo – On a cold December evening, celebrity chef Brede Ziegler is discovered stabbed to death on the steps of Oslo’s police headquarters, sending a shock wave through the city’s hip in-crowd. Chef Ziegler had many famous associates and more than a few enemies among them. Was his murder a random act of violence or did someone want him dead? Police investigator Billy T. is stymied by conflicting information about the kind of man Ziegler was. It seems nobody really knew him: not his glamorous wife, his business partner, nor the editor of his memoir-in-progress. The case is hopeless until Hanne Wilhelmsen returns to Oslo after a six-month stay in Italy and teams up with Billy T. 
  1. Beyond the Truth – Shortly before Christmas, four people are found shot dead at the home of the Stahlbergs, a wealthy Oslo family of shipping merchants notorious for their miserliness and infighting. Three of the victims are members of the family, and the fourth is an outsider, seemingly out of place. Cake had been set out in the living room and a bottle of champagne had been opened but not yet poured. Yes, family gatherings during the holidays can be difficult, but why did this one become a bloodbath?As Hanne Wilhelmsen investigates the case alongside her longtime police partner, Billy T., motives for the murders emerge in abundance.
  2. 1222 – 1222 METRES ABOVE SEA LEVEL: train 601 from Oslo to Bergen careens off iced rails as the worst snowstorm in Norwegian history gathers force around it. With night falling and the temperature plummeting, its 269 passengers are forced to abandon their snowbound train and find shelter in a centuries-old mountain hotel. Before dawn breaks, one of them will be murdered. Trapped by the killer within, trapped by the deadly storm outside, Hanne Wilhelmsen’s unease is mounting.
  3. Offline – It has been eleven years since Hanne Wilhelmsen’s life was forever changed by an assault that left her wheelchair-bound. Now, Hanne’s self-imposed exile is nearing its end. When Oslo comes under attack from Islamic extremists in a series of explosions, the city is left reeling. A militant group claims responsibility, but the Norwegian police force doubt on the authenticity of the declaration, and the group’s very existence. The unfolding drama is brought to Hanne’s door by her former partner Billy T., who is convinced that his son, Linus, is involved in the recent events. 

  1. In Dust and Ashes – Police investigator Kjell Bonsaksen is a contented man in most areas of life, but for one mistake he made years ago that has rankled like a stone in his shoe ever since: in 2001, a two-year-old girl was killed by a speeding car while playing in the road in front of her home. The girl’s father, Jonas, was convicted of his ex-wife’s murder and sentenced to twelve years in prison. But Kjell Bonsaksen knew he was innocent. Now it’s 2016, and Kjell is looking forward to his retirement to the French countryside with his wife. An uncomfortable chance encounter with Jonas at a roadside gas station prompts him to dig out Jonas’s case files for Detective Henrik Holme, the resident cold case prodigy. Henrik doesn’t take long to convince his beloved mentor, Hanne Wilhelmsen, that Jonas was wrongly convicted for his ex-wife’s murder. As their investigation evolves, Hanne and Henrik uncover eerie connections to the recent suicide of a right-wing extremist blogger whose fanatic ideologies seem incompatible with a desire to die.

If you like the Hanne Wilhelmsen reading order, you may also want to see our guide to Ragnar Jónasson’s books. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.

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