In the novel, Stoltenberg himself becomes the prime suspect, and then, suspiciously, refuses to give a DNA which could clear his name.
"In the first draft of the novel I used a fictitious Prime Minister, but I felt it did not seem authentic," Jaeger told the Bergens Avisen newspaper, defending his decision by saying that the former PM is only accused of the crime, and never a strong suspect. "What happens in the book is that an investigator is tasked to deal with an allegation," he explained.
Stoltenberg seized international attention in the wake of the brutal attacks mounted by Anders Behring Breivik, with a speech calling for the country not to respond with calls for vengeance, but instead respond with "more democracy", but last September voted out of office, ending his 13 consecutive years as leader.
Other Norwegian writers criticised Jaeger's decision.
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“If you use historical or contemporary people, the characters must be true to themselves,” argued Jon Michelet, author of the novel Orion's Belt. “As an author, you must respect the lives of others.”
"I would not have done it that way," said Jaeger's fellow Bergen writer Gunnar Staalesen, pointing to Danish television shows such as Borgen and The Killing, both of which feature authentic-seeming Prime Minister and Mayor figures who are not based on real people.