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Publisher's Summary

September 1977. Mette Misvãr, 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.

Chilling, shocking and full of extraordinary twists and turns, Where Roses Never Die reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world's foremost thriller writers.

©2016 Gunnar Staalesen (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Heidi
  • Australia
  • 07-04-2018

Contains all the elements I love in Nordic crime

I profess I love Nordic thrillers, so was very excited to “accidentally” discover this series when scrolling through monthly deals on Amazon – and what could be more intriguing than an old cold case nobody has ever been able to solve? Even though I entered the series at #18 I had no problem at all connecting with the characters or following the story. Initially, PI Varg Veum appeared like your stereotypical flawed detective – a loner who drinks too much and struggles with his demons. I found out later that this was due to the death of his long time partner earlier in the series for whom Varg is still grieving. However, Varg has neither lost his taste for solving crime, nor his talent at following obscure clues to get his answers. When he is being approached by Maja Misvær to look into the disappearance of her three year old daughter Mette over twenty years ago he goes right back to scratch, looking at all the people who lived in the small housing commune in Nordas where Mette grew up. With a background in social welfare, Veum has a nose not only for liars but also for bringing things to light that have remained hidden in the original police investigation.

I love mysteries that reveal small seemingly insignificant clues as the detective unearths them, letting readers draw their own conclusions. This Hansel-and-Gretel like trail of evidence eventually gets results, revealing dark secrets that have been hidden by members of the commune for a quarter of a decade. Staalesen has a talent for portraying all of his characters with such depth and insight that I was totally enthralled by the events that unfolded, and could picture them clearly in my mind.

How could I have not come across any of Staalesen’s work before? Containing all the elements I love in Nordic crime fiction – the atmospheric setting, the dark, gloomy undertones of hidden secrets and menace – this made for a fantastic read. Where Roses Never Die is a perfect example of why I am such a huge fan of the genre. With just good detective work, the book may lack the popular features employed by many contemporary crime writers (the unexpected twist, the unreliable narrator, etc), but it makes up for it in atmosphere, excellent character development and a multi-layered plot. Very highly recommended to all lovers of Nordic crime – I will definitely look up other works by the same author, and with 17 previous novels and number 19 published late last year, it will keep me entertained for a long time to come yet.

I listened to the audio version of this story, narrated by Colin Mace. Whilst Mace’s voice was perfect for the story, I felt a little bit disappointed and irritated by the frequent mispronunciation of Norwegian names, which somewhat marred the experience for me.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lizzystick
  • 12-12-2016

Good story, Interesting characters...Its a sequel

I wish Audible had indicated this book is a second in a series ! It was a good book anyway and the characters (especially main) were worth the time investment. Great Narrator.

70 of 76 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Larry
  • 04-09-2016

Good Story with Satisfying Ending

This was a well crafted and well performed story. The Norwegian names of the characters and the fact that there were so many characters made it challenging to keep track of the plot. It would be great if Audible could put a cheat sheet on the site with the characters names and their relations to each other.

43 of 47 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • La güera fodonga
  • 19-08-2016

Well written, tragic tale

This story features two cases, separated by time but still bonded together by the thinnest of links. I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns, and especially the resolution.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Donna Seidel
  • 09-06-2016

Five!

This reminds me a bit of a Jane Marpke mystery. In the small world this detective moves in, he simply visits and revisits the small cast of characters until he solves the puzzle. I was surprised at the last chapter solution. The author sets a steady pace and invites the reader to join him in quietly questioning everyone. This is a fascinating book.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sondra Deenst
  • 17-08-2016

Excellent !

This was my first book by this author , but it will be not the last. How refreshing it was to have relatively complex plots intriguingly unfold & actually intermingle with with minimal predictability . The author did a great job developing the characters, revealing the very delicate, undersides & scars we as humans hold closely . A totally satisfying read with a gracefully executed ending.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kira
  • 17-12-2016

Too many coincidences

This book has a lot of positives but a couple of things kept me from giving it a higher rating. Eliminating even just 1 or 2 of the many coincidences would have made the story much more believable. I also found the (I assume) humorous attempts at retro hard-boiled detective similes about the main character's desire for alcohol just didn't work. The book did keep my interest throughout and the ending was clever.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joanne S.
  • 16-07-2016

Draws you in...

Would you listen to Where Roses Never Die again? Why?

I would listen to it again as I enjoyed the flow of the book, the way everyday things were described.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Where Roses Never Die?

I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say that the book was very enjoyable with twists and turns and came together and tied it all off nicely at the end.

What about Colin Mace’s performance did you like?

I loved this chap's voice and it felt like I was there listening to a lot of different people. Really gets you engaged in the book and plots.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I believe I could, but I needed to sleep unfortunately.

Any additional comments?

Great listen, I really enjoyed this book. Would highly recommend.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Prefer Anonymity
  • 01-08-2016

Groundhog Day repeated in this awful book

I gave up on this book at the halfway mark, picked it back up, and then stopped 70% of the way through. It is tedious, the story is repetitive. In his efforts to help a mother find her kidnapped daughter from 30 years back, the detective (also an alcoholic) goes from one person to another asking the same questions and getting nowhere. The plot is stuck in a swamp of never-ending drinking and searching.

45 of 54 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-02-2017

Volume a problem

The story was engaging and interesting. My only problem was the reader's voice would go from a soft bass to a brighter loud baritone. This had me moving the volume up and down. I liked his voice just not when he went super low. Sound engineer did a poor job on this one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer peg linstrom
  • 02-01-2017

great mystery

aside from the challenge of keeping the characters straight in my mind, this was a terrifically satisfying book. I felt transported to Norway. well worth the credit and time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara
  • 31-08-2016

The devil is in the detail

Any additional comments?

In the physics of madness, a pebble can start a landslide. For this story, one small incident sets in motion in the mind of an insane person, a course of action which causes years of misery for so many others. What I love about this author is that there are no carelessly plotted story lines or even sentences. Even the description of shared coffee is delightful and begs to be re-read and re-examined for underlying clues. This book was my find of the year.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gerard the dog
  • 02-12-2016

Excellent

Beautifully crafted plot, great characterisation and great narration. typical Scandinavian style and precision. and reviews must be 20 words, how annoying

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • mollyeyre
  • 01-09-2016

I really enjoyed this one!

I was a bit luke warm about this purchase and bought it on a whim. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Varg Veum is an alcoholic, and I had become jaded when the lead character was falling in and out of inebriation, becoming aggressive and nasty in the event. Varg isn't portrayed as such, he is trying to fight the battle, yet it isn't the whole character of the man. I found him tenacious and rather likeable.

The story was excellent, and I didn't expect the ending until we were practically there. The characters were dealt with in a sympathetic way, and most were more or less likeable.

I thought that Colin Mace made a fine job of the narration. I really did enjoy this book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 17-11-2016

Good Norwegian Mystery

I listened to this book more quickly than many others. It is an easy flowing tale of the mystery of a missing girl being unravelled by a private detective. There are not too many characters and they are described adequately to absorb the different personalities, aided partly by the excellent narration. The obligatory twists and turns are well delivered, making this a very satisfying 'listen'. The book is one of a number of books featuring Varg Veum; it is one of the most recent books, and yet it is the first one that I have read. As I recall, there was no particular reference to earlier books in this story and I would not hesitate to read this book first.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Archway Kid
  • 15-06-2017

Meh

Ok story. Just lacked depth in my opinion. Liked the ending but by the time you get there, you just begun the wonder on how daft the previous detectives were in the first place? In normal circumstances this just wouldn't happen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs. S. V. Williams
  • 21-10-2016

Enjoyed

The intrigue and lots of strands going off into different directions kept up the suspense.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lori W
  • 17-09-2016

Terrific book. Held my attention until the the very end....

Extremely well delivered. The writing has all the elements of a good thriller. It turns from dark scenes to ones that are incredible movingly ease and plausibility.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alastair
  • 08-08-2018

Worth the listen

Having lived in both the society and many of the places mentioned (Bergen, the islands off the coast there, Oslo), I found this an excellent and well-crafted story:- was rivetted. The clichéd bit (a Scandi-noir private eye with an alcohol problem, anyone?) could have been different, but the story telling (both the story and the telling) was atmospheric. One problem (only relevant to purists):- the pronunciations of people's names was decidedly non-Norse (even allowing for a Bergense dialekt).

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jack Burnham
  • 20-03-2018

A substantial plot would have been nice.

I enjoy detective fiction but this one defeated me, I gave up three-quarters of the way through. And getting that far had been a struggle. I'd hoped that, if I stayed the course, the non-story would suddenly gain a plot that was believable, had depth & substance, but it didn't.

It appears that the book has pleased many so I accept that I'm in the minority of reviewers. But how many times was I supposed to listen to the PI carry out the same dull, repetitive interviews that no detective worth his salt would have continued making. It was a case of, 'I can't work out what happened so I'll ask folk about a seemingly unrelated incident.'

While I kept listening in the hope of improvement I wouldn't have done so for as long as I did if it hadn't been for Colin Mace's reading.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Fitz
  • 19-12-2017

Excellent twisting grim tale

Wonderfully dark, Scandinavian thriller very well written and performed. For a non Scandinavian the names and places are a bit difficult to follow but that’s immaterial to the story and the characters. A great “read” and want to try some other books by this author now!