Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen


Translated by Don Bartlett, Where Roses Never Die is the latest novel in Norwegian author Gunnar Staalesen’s ‘Varg Veum’ Series. This series follows private investigator Varg Veum and in this latest story Veum is recruited to solve a mysterious case that has remained unsolved for twenty five years.

‘I had my own daily demons to fight at that time, I was on the longest and darkest marathon of my life, and it was still a long way to the tape.’

From the very start it is clear that Varg Veum is a man who has troubles all of his own but he soon finds himself involved in case that has been unsolved for nearly a quarter of a century. Back in 1977, three-year old Mette Misvaer disappeared from the sandpit outside her home and is never seen again. Police enquiries reached a dead end and both the police and the community gave up hope. Not all hope, however. Twenty-five years on from her daughter’s disappearance, Maja Misvaer turns to Veum in a last, desperate attempt to be reunited with her child. So begins Veum’s journey to uncover the truth of the events that occurred decades previously, but just what would Veum find?

‘But behind the illuminated house fronts there were still some hidden secrets, still some skeletons in cupboards that needed to see the light of day’

I was immediately hooked and intrigued by this story and keen to find out what happened to Mette. Veum himself was an interesting character and I was soon drawn into both his personal journey and his journey of discovery. Veum gradually uncovers details, unravelling a web of secrets that could prove key to solving the mystery of Mette’s disappearance. I particularly enjoyed uncovering the relationships between Mette’s family, friends and neighbours. The events that shocked and surprised me. There is a claustrophobic feeling to the story, a sense of unease surrounding this seemingly tranquil suburb. Whilst everything may have appeared normal on the surface, there were secrets just waiting to emerge. This is a well paced, suspenseful book that keeps you guessing until the very end.

‘Someone had waited long enough as it was and we had never been closer to the answer than now’

Where Roses Never Die was the first book by Gunnar Staalesen that I had read and having enjoyed it I would be interested to check out some of his other books. I am particularly interested in reading another of his Varg Veum novels to see how they compare and to find out more about this intriguing character. This is a tense Scandinavian thriller, a gripping mystery packed with secrets and revelations.

Where Roses Never Die is to be published on 30th June 2016 by Orenda Books. Many thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for providing a copy for review.

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