The book is about an old house in a small town in the west coast area of Norway, where our hero Nicolai’s father has bought a house at a really low price from a widow, Margrete Modal. And Nicolai thinks highly of his chances to finally get off with his favourite girl, Bea, when the two of them go for a short holiday trip to the deserted house. It turns out that the house is hiding many secrets and that far from all the many mysteries it shelters are solved.
Nicolai and Bea are, more or less reluctantly, drawn into an investigation of what has happened there in the past. They are two curious, alert young people who throw themselves into the role of private detectives with real enthusiasm. Nicolai has decided that, during this holiday, he wants to have sex with Bea for the first time. Bea has decided the same thing about Nicolai. Naturally, they haven’t told each other. Besides, all the odd, mysterious and awful things that happen mean that their attempts to have sex are interrupted every time.
They take turns to tell the story and this is how we, the readers, become aware of how they keep mistaking and misinterpreting each other’s intentions, a situation that lends charm and humour to this thrilling narrative.
Huset ved havet is Hans Olav Lahlum’s first crime novel for young readers.
‘This is an uncontrollably hilarious and well-composed classic crime novel for young readers… the sense of discomfort within Huset ved havet grows steadily whilst the secrets it hides begin to weigh down upon it. Lahlum doesn’t rush things, and the novel is free from action scenes, placing full focus on the young pair’s not insignificant brainpower. This is, quite simply, a wonderful piece of work, a seamless mystery that slowly grips at the reader like an iron claw.’
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