Released on 05 June 2014.

#1 in series
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The Human Flies

3.71 based on 110 ratings & 24 reviews on

2015 Short-listed

Petrona Award


Oslo, 1968. Ambitious young detective Inspector Kolbjørn Kristiansen is called to an apartment block, where a man has been found murdered.

The victim, Harald Olesen, was a legendary hero of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation and at first it is difficult to imagine who could have wanted him dead. But as Detective Inspector Kolbjørn Kristiansen (known as K2) begins to investigate, it seems clear that the murderer could only be one of Olesen's fellow tenants in the building.

Soon, with the help of Patricia - a brilliant young woman confined to a wheelchair following a terrible accident - K2 will begin to untangle the web of lies surrounding Olesen's neighbours; each of whom, it seems, had their own reasons for wanting Olesen dead. Their interviews, together with new and perplexing clues, will lead K2 and Patricia to dark events that took place during the Second World War . . .

This gripping, evocative and ingenious mystery - the first in a series featuring K2 and Patricia - pays homage to the great Agatha Christie and will plunge readers into Norwegian history, and into a world of deceit and betrayal, revenge and the very darkest murder.

In the media

Critics have been lining up to praise this remarkable novel from historian, chess-player and politician Hans Olav Lahlum and it's not hard to see why.
A well-constructed and witty homage to the classic crime fiction of Agatha Christie, set in 1968 Oslo, which has some interesting historical depth. Featuring ambitious young police detective Kolbjørn Kristiansen on his first big case - the murder of a former resistance fighter - readers are treated to an apartment building of intriguing suspects and a page-turning investigation, as well as the considerable intellect of Kristiansen's wheelchair-bound partner Patricia. I hugely enjoyed this 'contemporary classic' and look forward to reading the other novels in the K2 series soon.
Mrs Peabody Investigates
If you fancy a traditional closed-circle murder mystery but with a left-wing tang to it, try The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum. In 1968, Detective Inspector Kristiansen faces a real baffler for his first-ever murder case when an old resistance hero is found dead in an Oslo apartment block. One of the neighbours must be the killer and since they include an ex-nazi and an OSS agent, the key to the puzzle probably lies in wartime events. With its conscious echoes of Agatha Christie and Rex Stout, this first whodunit by a well-known Norwegian historian and leftist politician will delight fans of both authors.
Morning Star