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Authors: Jorn Lier Horst

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Police Procedural, #Crime

Closed for Winter

BOOK: Closed for Winter


‘Urban rather than natural settings are the stamping grounds of Jorn Lier Horst, whose
(his first book to be published in English) is immensely impressive The writer’s career as a police chief has supplied a key ingredient for the crime fiction form: credibility.’

Barry Forshaw, author of
Nordic Noir


‘Jorn Lier Horst serves up very satisfying crime novels. From crimes committed in a small but idyllic holiday location in Norway, the plot stretches to less privileged parts of Europe. Horst shows great sensitivity in his depiction of dramatic crimes in which the characters’ motives emerge clearly. Chief Inspector William Wisting has certainly consolidated his position as one of our classic crime heroes.’

The judges of the Riverton Prize Golden Revolver,

won by Jorn Lier Horst for
The Hunting Dogs




Praise for
Closed for Winter


‘Top class crime writing.’

Sindre Hovdenakk,
Verdens Gang


‘Lovers of crime fiction – read this!’

Knut Holt,


Closed for Winter
is a good, well-grounded crime story.’

Helge Ottesen,


‘Jorn Lier Horst has pulled it off again.’

Svein Einar Hansen, Østlandsposten


‘This is a thoroughly good crime novel.’

Finn Stenstad,
Tønsberg Blad


‘Classic police procedural from an author who knows what he is doing … I recommend that every fan of crime novels should dedicate some time to Jorn Lier Horst’s writing. Make a pleasurable start with
Closed for Winter

TorbJorn Ekelund,




Praise for


Jorn Lier Horst has, right from his debut in 2004, set a sensationally good pace in his crime novels, and has today gained entry into the circle of our very best writers in that genre.

Terje Stemland,
, Norway


‘Just as good are the descriptions of the characters in Jorn Lier Horst’s book. They are nuanced and interesting, absolutely human. Many have known it for a long time, but now it ought to be acknowledged as a truth for all readers of crime fiction: William Wisting is one of the great investigators in Norwegian crime novels.’

Norwegian Book Club (Book of the Month,

Crime and Thrillers)


‘I’m impressed once again that he has created such a sterling crime mystery as
. For he hasn’t only made use of his comprehensive knowledge, he has also done it with creative finesse.’

Marius Aronsen, Secretary of
Riverton Club
, Norway


‘Once more Jorn Lier Horst has produced a sound criminal narrative with an intricate plot, an action-packed story with Chief Inspector William Wisting as a credible central character. Jorn Lier Horst has the great advantage of his own experiences as a police investigator, and is able to bring real authenticity to such aspects as investigative methodology and tactical planning.’

Svend E. Hansen
, Østlandsposten
, Norway






Jorn Lier Horst
was born in 1970, in Bamble, Telemark, Norway. He has worked as a policeman in Larvik since 1995, and is now head of investigations there. His William Wisting series of crime novels has been extremely successful, having sold more than 500,000 copies in Scandinavia, UK, Germany, Netherlands and Thailand.
, sixth in the series, was published in English by Sandstone Press in 2011. The next book,
Closed for Winter
, won Norway’s Booksellers’ Prize in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Riverton Prize. His latest novel,
The Hunting Dogs
, won both the prestigious
Golden Revolver
, for best Norwegian crime, and
The Glass Key
, which widened the scope to best crime fiction in all the Nordic countries, in 2013.


Anne Bruce
, a resident of the Isle of Arran in Scotland, formerly worked in education and has a longstanding love of Scandinavia and Norway in particular. Having studied Norwegian and English at Glasgow University, she is the translator of Jorn Lier Horst’s
, and also Anne Holt’s
Blessed are Those who Thirst
(2012) and
Death of the Demon
(2013), as well as Merethe Lindstrøm’s Nordic Prize winning
Days in the History of Silence





Also published by Sandstone Press







Jorn Lier Horst


Translated from the Norwegian by


Anne Bruce






First published in Great Britain by

Sandstone Press Ltd

PO Box 5725

One High Street



IV15 9WJ



All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced,

stored or transmitted in any form without the express

written permission of the publisher.


Copyright © Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS 2011

[All rights reserved.]

Translation © Anne Bruce 2013


Published in English by Sandstone Press in 2013

English language editor: Robert Davidson


The moral right of Jorn Lier Horst to be recognised as the

author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the

Copyright, Design and Patent Act, 1988.


The publisher acknowledges subsidy from

Creative Scotland towards publication of this volume.




ISBN: 978-1-908737-49-6

ISBNe: 978-1-908737-50-2


Cover design by Freight, Glasgow

Ebook by Iolaire Typesetting, Newtonmore




William Wisting is a career policeman who has risen through the ranks to become Chief Inspector in the Criminal Investigation Department of Larvik Police, just like his creator, author Jorn Lier Horst.
Closed for Winter
is the seventh title in the series, the second to be published in English, and finds him around fifty years old, the widowed father of grown up twins, Thomas and Line. Wisting’s wife, Ingrid, went to Africa to work on a NORAD project but was killed there at the end of
The Only One
, the fifth title in the series.

Thomas serves in the military, in Afghanistan at the time of
Closed for Winter
. Daughter Line is an investigative journalist based in Oslo, whose career frequently intersects with that of her father. Wisting, at first apprehensive, has come to value how she is able to operate in ways that he cannot, often turning up unexpected clues and insights.

After Ingrid’s death Wisting became involved with another woman, Suzanne Bjerke, a child welfare worker but, for Wisting, Ingrid remains the absence around which all else revolves. Subsequent books, including this one, cover the development of this new relationship.

Crucial to the series are Wisting’s colleagues in the police. Audun Vetti, the arrogant Assistant Chief of Police who is also the police prosecutor, came to the fore in
, when the question of how much information to divulge to the press was bitterly contested between the two. Wisting has more positive relationships with certain trusted colleagues: old school Nils Hammer, whose background in the Drugs Squad has made him cynical, the younger Torunn Borg whom Wisting has come to rely on thanks to her wholly professional approach and outlook, and Mortensen, the crime scene examiner who is usually first on the scene.

The setting is Vestfold county on the south-westcoast of Norway, an area popular with holidaymakers, where rollinglandscapes and attractive beaches make an unlikely setting for crime.The principal town of Larvik, where Wisting is based, islocated 105 km (65 miles) southwest of Oslo. The widerLarvik district has 41,000 inhabitants, 23,000 of whom live inthe town itself, and covers 530 square km. Larvik isnoted for its natural springs, but its modern economy relies heavily on agriculture, commerce and services, light industry and transportation, as well as tourism. There is a ferry service from Larvik to Hirsthals in Denmark.

At the beginning of
Closed for Winter
, Wisting, worn down by over thirty years of police work, has returned to work following a breakdown. The many changes in society, and the increase in organised crime that has come with globalisation and improved communications, have prompted him to reflect on crime and police work. These thoughts, the intuition he has developed over many years in the force, as well as his acute awareness of human nature and social shifts, all underpinned by Jorn Lier Horst’s deep experience of police procedures and processes, bring a strong sense of these novels being grounded in reality.

Closed for Winter
won the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize in 2012.

Further information on Jorn Lier Horst and the earlier books is available in English at


Swirling sheets of fog drifted inland, settling on the wet asphalt and forming blurred haloes around the streetlamps. Ove Bakkerud drove with one hand on the steering wheel as the surrounding darkness drew in. He particularly enjoyed this time of year, just before autumn leaf-fall.

This would be his final trip to the summer cottage at Stavern, to nail closed the window shutters, drag the boat ashore and shut the place for winter. He had looked forward to it all summer long; this was his holiday. The actual work took no more than a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon, and the remaining time was at his disposal.

He swung off the main road and rolled onto the crunching gravel, the car headlights sliding over the briar hedge bordering the road all the way to the parking place. The dashboard clock showed 21.37. He switched off the ignition and emerged from the vehicle to inhale the fresh tang of salt sea air, listening to the waves boom like distant thunder on the shore.

The rain had eased and harsh blasts of wind were gusting to disperse the fog. The Tvistein light swept the landscape, glimmering across the rocks.

As he wrapped himself more snugly in his jacket, he stepped behind the car to haul the shopping bags from the boot, savouring the prospect of rare steak for dinner and fried bacon and eggs for breakfast. Man’s food. Thrusting his free hand into his pocket to check for the keys he ascended the path to his cottage on the rocky outcrop. A slight incline, and then the entire ocean stretched before him. His sense of the enormous panorama filled him, as always, with a special feeling of peace.

The cottage had been a simple, red-painted wooden cabin, without insulation and damaged by dry rot, when his family bought it almost twenty years earlier. As soon as he had sufficient funds he demolished the entire structure and rebuilt, and gradually he and his wife created their own little paradise. From the years when he had spent all his free time on construction work, this location had become his place to relax, breathe out, and take things easy. A place where time meant nothing and where the hours could pass according to the dictates of wind and weather.

Placing the shopping bags on the flagstones fronting the cottage, he took the keys from his pocket. The lighthouse beam struck the exterior wall and Ove Bakkerud froze and caught his breath. His grip tightened on the keys, his mouth felt dry and goose pimples spread from the nape of his neck to his forearms.

The bright lance from the lighthouse again cut through the darkness, confirming that the door was ajar, its frame shattered, the lock tumbled to the ground.

Glancing around, he perceived only darkness, though a noise, a twig snapping, rose from the undergrowth. Further off a dog barked; then nothing but the wind rustling through autumn leaves and waves breaking on the shore.

Ove Bakkerud stepped forward a few paces, holding the top edge of the door to push it open. Fumbling his way towards the light switch, he turned on the exterior lamp and the ceiling light in the hallway.

He and his wife had discussed the possibility of something like this, having read accounts in the newspapers about gangs of youths breaking into cottages to rampage through the furnishings, as well as more professional outfits ransacking entire communities of summer cottages in their search for valuables. Nevertheless, he could not believe his eyes.

The living room had taken the worst: drawers and cupboards lay open, contents strewn over the floor, smashed glasses and dishes, and settee cushions scattered across the room. Everything saleable was gone: the new flat screen television, stereo system and portable radio. The cabinet where they stored wine and spirits was completely bare, a half-empty bottle of cognac the only item left behind. It felt as though their special place had been violated.

He stooped to lift the ship in a bottle, usually displayed on the mantelpiece but now lying on the floor, a large crack disfiguring the glass. Two of the masts had fractured. He recalled the many hours he had watched his grandfather’s calloused fingers transform the tiny fragments into a fully-rigged ship. The moment the craft was installed inside the bottle, his grandfather had pulled the threads to hoist its sails.

His voice trembling, he phoned the police and introduced himself.

‘When were you last at the cottage?’ the operator enquired.

‘Two weeks ago.’

‘So the burglary took place after the 19th September?’ Ove Bakkerud suddenly felt totally drained. ‘Do you know if they’ve broken into other cottages?’ the police officer asked.

‘No,’ Ove Bakkerud replied, gazing through the window and spotting a light at Thomas Rønningen’s cottage in the distance. ‘I’ve just arrived.’

‘We can send out a patrol to have a look in the morning,’ the police operator continued. ‘Meanwhile it would be best if you disturb things as little as possible.’

‘Tomorrow? But …’

‘Will you be at this number? Then we can phone when we have a car available.’

His mouth opened in protest, to demand that the police come immediately with dogs and crime scene technicians, but he held his tongue. Swallowing, he muttered a thank you and drew the conversation to a close.

Where should he start? He headed for the kitchen to fetch a dustpan and brush before remembering the policeman’s admonition to leave the crime scene undisturbed. Instead he peered down at the living room window of his neighbour’s cottage.

He was wondering about that light being on, since Thomas Rønningen rarely visited during autumn, having enough on his plate with his successful Friday-evening chat show. All the same, he had taken time off to celebrate the opening night of the season in August, sitting beside Ove Bakkerud at the barbecue pit drinking cognac, telling stories about the events behind the scenes before, during and after each broadcast.

A shadow flitted across the window.

Perhaps the burglars had broken in there as well. For all he knew, they might still be there. Stepping swiftly towards the doorway, he picked up the torch from its usual shelf. The police might well adjust their priorities if Thomas Rønningen was involved.

The footpath’s descent to the sea curled between dense undergrowth and the impenetrable branches of crooked pine trees. Shining the torch beam on glossy tree roots and pebbles did not prevent him from scraping against pine needles and twigs.

On this side, the brightly lit cottage windows were too high for him to look in. Zigzagging the torchlight over the terrain, he approached the steps leading to the front entrance, where a blast of wind caught the door, slamming it against the verandah railings. The intense silence sent shivers down his neck and spine when he realised that he was completely defenceless.

The torch beam shed light on the doorframe, revealing similar evidence of a burglary. However, this time there was something more. The edge of the door was spattered with blood.

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