Gunnar Staalesen: Bitter Flowers

Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Bitter Flowers. My review is written with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour and to Orenda Books for my copy of the book.


PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when a challenging assignment arrives on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool and a young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Varg Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these apparently unrelated crimes come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking environmental crimes, Varg Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic investigation of his career.


I always enjoy an outing with Private Investigator, Varg Veum and Bitter Flowers was no exception. Although he likes to bend the rules and often has some ill-advised relationships, he’s compassionate and determined and I trust him to find answers, even if he does not do so in the most straightforward way. These traits come across particularly well in Bitter Flowers and I was completely invested and intrigued by the outcome of his investigation. 

Staalesen’s writing is absolutely wonderful. The description is very clear and I immediately felt as though I could picture every scene and be part of the action. The translation captures Staalesen’s style really well and I found the novel engaging all the way through. 

There are several different strands to the storyline of Bitter Flowers and I am amazed that Staalesen was able to keep track of them all and make sure they all came together neatly. Having said that, it’s not at all difficult for the reader to follow and I loved the way we were taken in so many different directions as the plot unfolded.

As the novel progresses, the tension heightens and there is a definite sense of danger. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how this would play out and I was keen to find the answers. 

Bitter Flowers is available from Amazon.

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