Photo: Anton Soggiu Photo: Anton Soggiu

Jørn Lier Horst

Jørn Lier Horst (b. 1970) has with his award-winning novels about William Wisting joined the elite of Nordic crime writers. Having worked as a head of investigations before becoming a full-time author, Horst brings a unique brand of suspense and realism to the table. Besides his novels for grown readers, Horst has gained recognition for his unparalleled ability to thrill even young readers with charming mysteries. His standing as the Norwegian king of crime fiction for all ages was cemented when he created the Detective Agency No. 2 and CLUE series, both the most popular children’s book series in their respective age categories.

“Horst, a former Norwegian police detective, is often compared to Sweden’s Henning Mankell for his moody, sweeping crime dramas.”
-New York Times

“Jørn Lier Horst writes literary crime with high credibility and keen-eyed societal depictions – he’s Norway’s own Henning Mankell.”
-Hjorth & Rosenfeldt

“Jørn Lier Horst writes some of the best Scandinavian crime fiction available. His books are superbly plotted and addictive, the characters wonderfully realized.”
-Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

Jørn Lier Horst & Hans Jørgen Sandnes


Norwegian writer Jørn Lier Horst (b. 1970) and illustrator and animator Hans Jørgen Sandnes (b. 1979) have together created the bestselling children’s book series Detective Agency No. 2 for ages 6-9. Jørn Lier Horst has won multiple awards for his crime fiction for adults, and is also the author behind the highly praised CLUE series for children aged 9-12. Horst’s ability to create charming and believable characters has resulted in a rich universe full of adventure and mystery. Together with Hans Jørgen Sandnes’ award-winning illustrations, the Detective Agency No. 2 series’ universe and its lovable young detective duo are brought to vivid life before the reader.

Set in the idyllic small town of Riverton, the Detective Agency No. 2 series follows the adventures of our main protagonists Tiril and Oliver – not to mention their dog Ocho! Together the two young detectives collect evidence, search for connections, and join the at times perilous hunt for criminals. Concluding each book is an afterword in which readers can put their own sleuthing skills to the test.

Awards

The Finnish Whodunnit Society’s Award for Excellence in Foreign Crime Writing Finland 2024
The Teskjekjerring Award Norway 2023
Shortlisted for Bøkekrimprisen (Best Crime Novel) Norway – Sak 1569 A Question of Guilt 2021
Shortlisted for the Prix du Bureau des Lecteurs France – Blindgang Ordeal 2021
Shortlisted for Vrij Nederland’s Thriller of the Year The Netherlands – Katharina-koden The Katharina Code 2021
Shortlisted for BOK365’s Book of the Year Award Norway – Sak 1569 A Question of Guilt 2020
Shortlisted for the Petrona Award (Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year) UK – Det innerste rommet The Cabin 2020
Longlisted for the CWA International Dagger UK – Det innerste rommet The Cabin 2020
Shortlisted for BOK365’s Book of the Year Award Norway – Illvilje The Inner Darkness 2019
Longlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière France – Hulemannen The Caveman 2019
The Petrona Award (Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year) UK – Katharina-koden The Katharina Code 2019
Longlisted for the CWA International Dagger UK – Katharina-koden The Katharina Code 2019
Nordic Noir Thriller of the Year Sweden 2018
Longlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière France – Jakthundene The Hunting Dogs 2018
Longlisted for the CWA International Dagger UK 2017
Shortlisted for the Bokslukerprisen Award Norway – Ulvehundgåten The Wolfhound Mystery 2017
Shortlisted for the Bookworm Award Norway – Rivertongåten The Riverton Mystery 2016
Special Award for Excellence in Crime Fiction Writing Poland 2016
The Petrona Award (Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year) UK – Hulemannen The Caveman 2016
Shortlisted for the Ark’s Book of the Year Award Norway – Blindgang Ordeal 2015
The Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award Sweden – Jakthundene The Hunting Dogs 2014
Shortlisted for the Petrona Award (Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year) UK – Vinterstengt Closed for Winter 2014
The Glass Key The Nordic Countries – Jakthundene The Hunting Dogs 2013
Shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize Norway – Hulemannen The Caveman 2013
The Vestfold Literature Prize Norway 2012
The Riverton Prize Norway – Jakthundene The Hunting Dogs 2012
The Norwegian Bookseller’s Prize Norway – Vinterstengt Closed for Winter 2011
Close award list

Bibliography

William Wisting

Wisting: The Prequel

CLUE

Jørn Lier Horst & Hans Jørgen Sandnes

Detective Agency No. 2

Activity books

Children’s non-fiction

Stand-alone

Related news

Norway’s most streamed audio books of 2023

Jo Nesbø tops the list of most streamed titles of 2023 in Norway, coming in at No. 1 with Killing Moon. Jørn Lier Horst is a close No. 2 with The Traitor, also making an appearance at No. 5 together with Thomas Enger and Stigma. All in all, Horst appears five times in the top twenty most streamed titles of the year.

Jørn Lier Horst wins the Finnish Whodunnit Society’s Honorary Award

2024’s winner of the Finnish Whodunnit Society’s Honorary Award for foreign crime fiction is none other than Jørn Lier Horst. An annual honorary award, the winner is selected by the Board of the Whodunnit Society in consultation with the editor-in-chief of the magazine Ruumiin kulttuuri (Body Culture). More than twenty international authors – among them Colin Dexter, Patricia Highsmith, P. D. James, Håkan Nesser, Henning Mankell, Fred Vargas, Keigo Higashino, and Pierre Lemaitre – have received the award since 1993.

The jury motivates their choice thusly:

“Norwegian Jørn Lier Horst is known to crime and suspense fiction fans for his police novel series William Wisting. Because of his police background, the Wisting books have a realistic portrayal of police investigations. In the Wisting series, Horst successfully combines past and present. His style is clear and recognizable, with philosophical reflections on the nature of evil and a fast-paced plot that draws the reader in. The characters are easy to get attached to and to care about.

The Finnish Whodunnit Society would like to use this recognition to draw attention to Horst’s other side as a writer and to thank him for this as well. Horst has written dozens of children’s and young adult detective stories, which have also been translated into Finnish. The children’s detective series Detective Agency No. 2 /…/ and the youth detective series Clue are very popular, for example in the children’s sections of Finnish libraries.”

The Norwegian Storytel Awards 2024

The voting is now open for this year’s Norwegian Storytel Awards, which pay particular respect to the audio book narrators working on the nominated titles.

Among those whose works have been nominated in the category Crime & Suspense are Anders de la Motte with The Mountain King, Anders Roslund with Sweet Dreams, Jørn Lier Horst with The Traitor, Jo Nesbø with Killing Moon, and Lars Kepler with The Spider.

Thomas Seltzer’s American Karmageddon is nominated in the category Narrated by Author.

‘Operation Eeny Meeny’ published in Norway

The twenty-sixth Detective Agency No. 2 title, Operation Eeny Meeny, has just been published in Norway. This time around Detective Agency No. 2 is up against their biggest task so far, with no less than seven suspects. The snow is melting in Riverton, and as it does a pile of mysterious things are uncovered beneath a drift: a balaclava, a pair of gloves, a few pieces of wood, and a crowbar. What has happened? Detective Agency No. 2 soon comes across traces of a crime with many suspects. Can they find out who is behind it all?

‘The Traitor,’ ‘Killing Moon’ and ‘The Mire’ chosen as some of 2023’s best novels in Estonia

Jørn Lier Horst’s latest title in the William Wisting series, The Traitor, along with Jo Nesbø’s Killing Moon, and Liza Marklund’s The Mire, were at the start of January chosen by Estonia’s leading crime critic Jaan Martinson as three of 2023’s best novels.

Martinson gives this glowing review of The Traitor:

“Every time I finish even one-quarter of another crime novel by Jørn Lier Horst, I wants to shout that this is probably the best crime writer there is, and his best work to date. This time, the author finds an opportunity to place the main character of his novels, probably one of the most human and big-hearted police inspectors, William Wisting, in a situation where he has to abandon all his beliefs and turn his back on both himself and the whole system that he’s a part of and has shaped his soul and life. To save his loved ones, he must swim against the current, all the while doubting what he’s doing and fearing failure.”

And The Mire:

“The return of Liza Marklund. /…/ An utterly dark and tragic story.”

The Icelandic Storytel Awards 2024 Shortlist Announced

The nominees for this year’s Icelandic Storytel Awards have been announced. 

The Storytel Awards are an annual event that highlights the best audio books of the year. The awards are granted within five categories: Suspense, Fiction, Non-fiction, YA & Children’s books, and Feelgood.

Yrsa Sigurdardóttir’s Forget Me Not is nominated in the Suspense category, whilst Jørn Lier Horst’s The Cabin is featured in the Fiction books award. 

Martin Widmark’s The Racecourse Mystery is in the running for the Children’s books award, and Just a Bit More by Simona Ahrnstedt is nominated within the Feelgood category.

Readers will be able to vote for their favorite titles, after which a jury will pick a winner among the five candidates with the most votes in each category.

Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger No. 1 most sold in Norway 2023

Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger claim the top spot on Norway’s 2023 bestseller list with Victim, their fifth Blix & Ramm novel. Horst then makes a second showing in the top ten with The Traitor, which features at No. 4. Also appearing twice in the top ten is Jo Nesbø, with Killing Moon at No. 3, and The Night House at No. 8. A non-Norwegian author in the top is Anders de la Motte, whose The Mountain King comes in at No. 6. The highest-placing female writer is Anne Holt, with Twelve Untamed Horses at No. 9.

Jørn Lier Horst No. 1 in France

The Cabin, the twelfth William Wisting novel, is No. 1 in French bookstores. The novel was published in France just last week.

Jørn Lier Horst the most sold in Norway 2023

When tallying 2023’s book sales in Norway, the clear winner is Jørn Lier Horst. Even with no new Wisting novel being published last year, Horst’s popular and long-selling backlist puts him at No. 1 on the list of most sold authorships.

Photo: Anton Soggiu

Jørn Lier Horst is this year’s author in Aftenposten Junior

The readers of Aftenposten Junior have chosen Jørn Lier Horst as the Author of the Year in 2023. He wins ahead of J.K. Rowling after being voted by young readers.

The books about Detective Agency No. 2 are one of Norway’s bestselling children’s book series of all time, with a total print run of 3 million copies. Several of the books have been adapted into films, and there has also been a theatrical production based on the popular universe. In 2022, Tiril, Oliver, and Åtto were named the all-time Norwegian children’s book characters by the readers of the industry website Bok365.

Lovrenski, Horst & Enger, Lier Horst and Hjorth & Rosenfeldt on top in Norway

Back in the Day by Oliver Lovrenski remains at No.1 on the hardcover list for week 48, along with Horst & Enger’s Stigma on the paper back list, followed by Jørn Lier Horst’s The Traitor at No. 4. Hjorth & Rosenfeldt steadily hold the No. 1 spot on the e-book list, with The Guilt You Carry, followed by Back in the Day at No. 4.

Jørn Lier Horst and Hans Jørgen Sandnes awarded the Teskjekjerring Award

Jørn Lier Horst and Hans Jørgen Sandnes have been awarded the Teskjekjerring Award for their bestselling series The Detective Agency No. 2, with the jury motivation: “This year’s recipients have made an invaluable contribution to the love of reading among Norwegian children. The duo’s book series has sold over three million copies in Norway alone.”

The Teskjekjerring Award is part of the Alf Prøysen Honorary Awards, which were founded in the name of Norwegian poet, author, and singer Alf Prøysen. The Prøysen Award and the Teskjekjerring Award have been awarded annually since 1974 for outstanding efforts in one of the fields in which Prøysen himself was active. The Teskjekjerring Award places special emphasis on art aimed toward children.

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