A Question of Guilt (William Wisting #15, Cold Case Quartet #4), by Jørn Lier Horst

Eight stars

While enjoying some well-deserved time off from police work, William Wisting receives an unmarked letter in his postbox. What he discovers on the sheet inside is a line that refer back to an old case from 1999. Wisting pulls the file and begins his own examination of the case, which is all about the murder of a young woman and the quick arrest of her boyfriend. While Wisting is intrigued, he soon discovers some gaping holes in the investigation.

When another letter arrives with a similar case reference, Wisting cannot help but look into it as well, soon seeing interesting parallels between the two cases, which were two years apart. Both have some troubling aspects and Wisting’s personal exploration soon receives the attention of those within the department, forcing a reexamination of the cases. All this, while a current murder investigation heats up as well.

As Wisting draws some intriguing conclusions, a keen reporter adds fuel to the fire and gets media attention on what might have been a wrongful conviction. However, evidence is sometimes harder to come by than supposition, making any true legal about face harder to accomplish. That said, Wisting’s work soon has some within the department taking a closer look at their current caseload and another open-and-shut case. A great story with some wonderful investigative work, showing that Jørn Lier Horst is on the ball!

It was years ago that I discovered the work of Jørn Lier Horst, not shying away from the fact that the novels were not originally in English. It was his William Wisting novels that got me interested in the Scandinavian Noir genre and I have not looked back since. Well-paced stories with great plot development help pull me into the middle of the investigation with little concern for the outside world. These four cold case novels, plopped into the middle of the larger series, proved just as entertaining and insightful as anything else William Wisting has tackled as a police detective.

William Wisting has a great backstory, though much of it has been hidden in novels that were never translated into English. That said, the crumbs that are available proved highly entertaining for series fans, as well as some of the great character development that has occurred. Wisting is sharp, on point, and relatively laid back as he works through the nuances of a case, never one to let outside pressures guide him. While there is little room for development within the novel, Horst allows the reader to see his personal side as he interacts with his daughter and granddaughter throughout his investigation.

Even without the proper context of the first six novels, this series has never missed a beat for readers of the English translations. As I have said before, the seamlessness of these stories makes it such that one would not readily know the stories were not penned in English at the outset. Horst tackles a great deal within his stories and the reader can see this in a strong narrative that keeps gaining momentum throughout. The plot evolves and keeps the reader in the middle of a great story, always tossing in twists to keep things interesting. Short chapters help push things along and the reader finds themselves devouring large portions of the book in a single sitting, begging to find out what is about to happen. I am eager to see where William Wisting is headed now and what mysteries await him as he returns to ‘present day’ investigations.

Kudos, Mr. Horst, for another stunning read. While you have your other series in full swing now, I hope you won’t forget your stunning detective in the coming years.