I need to read this Agatha Christie classic. I'm overdue, because this is the second novel I've read in the past few months that owes a significant debt to Ms. Christie's novel. And that's not a criticism. It's a brilliant structure, and it's used to good effect in Anne Holt's latest, 1222.
I'll start by noting the unusual title of the novel refers to the elevation (meters above sea level) of the novel's setting, and the name of a hotel at that elevation. In the opening pages there is a train crash high up in Norway's snowy mountains. Most of the 269 passengers and crew get off with fairly minor injuries, but they're trapped in the mountains by a severe winter storm. It'll be several days before organized help can arrive. Fortunately, a handful of locals form a rescue team and evacuate the passengers to the nearby hotel, which opens its doors wide to accommodate everyone.
The main character of the novel is a wheelchair-bound former police inspector named Hanne Wilhelmsen. I believe that Hanne has appeared in prior novels by Holt, but this is the first of the series to be published in the US. She's not a warm and fuzzy first-person narrator. In fact, she's rather prickly, but she's an interesting lady with a complex back-story, and she's a keen observer of human nature. In other words, she's exactly the sort of person you might want around when you're trapped in a remote location with a bunch of quirky strangers--and suddenly people start turning up dead.
Ms. Holt kept me guessing along with everyone else for the duration of this very enjoyable who-done-it. She embellishes the basic plot with several other side mysteries and red herrings. I warmed up to Hanne enough that I'd love to continue reading her series. Other characters were used more to fulfill their functions within the plot, but they were ably handled. 1222 isn't a major literary work, but I don't have a single complaint to voice. It was written to entertain, and on that count, I found it to be entirely successful.