Today I’m delighted to be hosting the next stop on Gunnar Staalesen’s Where Roses Never Die blog tour. I thought what better way to demonstrate Gunnar’s brilliant writing than to share an extract of the beginning of this fab book!
Firstly the Blurb:
September 1977. Mette Misvaer, a three-year-old girl disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Her tiny, close middle-class community in the tranquil suburb of Nordas is devastated, but their enquiries and the police produce nothing. Curtains twitch, suspicions are raised, but Mette is never found.
Almost 25 years later, as the expiry date for the statute of limitations draws near, Mette’s mother approaches PI Varg Veum, in a last, desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter. As Veum starts to dig, he uncovers an intricate web of secrets, lies and shocking events that have been methodically concealed. When another brutal incident takes place, a pattern begins to emerge …
Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen
There are days in your life when you are barely present, and today was one of those. I was sitting behind my desk, half-cut and half-asleep, when I heard a shot from the other side of Vagen, the bay in Bergen. Not long afterwards I heard the police sirens, although there was no reason to assume this would ever be a case that might involve me. By the time I had eventually staggered to my feet and made it to the window, it was all over.
Reading the newspapers the following day, I found out most of what had gone on, the rest I learned in dribs and drabs. Afterwards they were universally referred to as the Shell Suit Robbers. There were just two customers in the exclusive jewellery shop in Bryggen when, at 15.23 on Friday, 7th December 2001, the door swung open and three heavily armed individuals, waering balaclavas and dressed in what are informally known as BBQ suits, burst into the premises.
The two customers, an older woman and a younger one, cowered in the corner. In addition to the customers there were two female assistants in the shop. The owner was in the back room.He’d hardly had time to look up before on robber was standing in the doorway and pointing a sawn-off shotgun at him. He said in what was supposed to be English: ‘Don’t move yourself! The first person who presses an alarm button are shot!’
One of the robbers took up position by the front door with an automatic weapon hanging down at thigh-height and kept lookout. The third opened a big bag, gave it to the assistant in front of the display cabinets and pointed a gun at her. He spoke in English too: ‘Fill up!’
The assistant objected: ‘They’re locked!’
‘But I’ll have to get…’ She motioned to the counter.
‘Move, move, move!’
She cast a glance at the other assistant, who nodded resigned agreement. Then she opened a drawer behind the counter, took out a bunch of keys and went back to the display cabinets.
The robber in front of her directed a glance at the door: ‘Everything OK?’
The robber posted there nodded mutely.
The robber by the office door intoned the same message: ‘Move!’
The jewellery-shop owner shouted: ‘You have no idea what you’re doing! All our items are registered internationally. No one will buy the most expensive pieces.’
‘Shut up!’ The robber pointed to the safe in the wall. ‘Open.’
‘I haven’t got…’
The robber rushed forward and held the rifle to his head. ‘Open. If you…’
One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947 and is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. The next instalments in the Varg Veum series – Where Roses Never Die and No One Is So Safe in Danger – will be published by Orenda Books in 2016 and 2017.
Where Roses Never Die is published by Orenda Books and is out to buy now.
To buy this book on Amazon click here.
To buy this book on Waterstones click here.
Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on the Where Roses Never Die Blog Tour