”Varg Veum is alive and well, not just as a hero of TV and film, but on paper, too.”
Kurt Hanssen, Dagbladet
”It is a pleasure to be able to confirm that Varg Veum is back to his best.”
Ola A. Hegdal, Dagens Næringsliv
Bergens Tidende - 12.09.2010 -
GRO JØRSTAD NILSEN
Gunnar Staalesen: We Shall Inherit the Wind. Gyldendal
Stylish Mixture of Current Issues and Timelessness
With “We Shall Inherit the Wind” Gunnar Staalesen has written his fifteenth crime novel about private investigator, Varg Veum. The title creates associations with the meek who, according to the Bible, will inherit the earth, but the meek in this book are few and far between. Here they are replaced by much more active fanatics of all hues, including eco-warriors with a doomsday view of the future.
The story takes place in 1998. In the opening scene Veum is sitting at the death bed of his beloved Karin. He accepts the blame for the injuries inflicted on her, and this leads to the unravelling of a dramatic story. To all intents and purposes, the plot is about power and energy versus environmental considerations. And the debate surrounding power lines in Hardanger, a current issue in Norway, makes it clear that this time Staalesen has delivered fiction that is bang up-to-date, with recognisable battle lines and the generally prevailing arguments for both sides.
The apparent motive for Veum travelling to the fictional island of Brennøy, on the far coast of Gulen, is a missing person case. The person in question, Mons Mæland, the owner of the land where the wind farm is planned, it turns out has been killed. Alongside the matter of who killed him and why, there is a parallel plot: Mæland’s wife went missing sixteen years before. She was lost at sea, as the expression goes, but was never found.
“We Shall Inherit the Wind” alternates neatly between trails where past history, with timeless themes such as love, revenge and desire, gradually supersedes the drama surrounding the wind turbines. And trails are constantly being laid which are so intricate that the reader never feels more intelligent (or more stupid) than Veum. The characters in the book are drawn with more nuances and more psychological insight than in most crime novels. Karin dies, Veum lives and the book has a surprising ending that may remind the reader of “A Doll’s House”. In fact, there is generally something Ibsenian about this detective novel in which past sins play such an important part in the present. Ibsen’s criticism of pure idealism can also be felt in “We Shall Inherit the Wind”, a novel which is both up-to-date and timeless, in other words a great read.