Book Review: Leif G W Persson ~ The Dying Detective (Translator: Neil Smith) (2016)

Fans of BBC’s New Tricks* enjoy the idea that decades of experience can resolve unsolved crimes. Intuition, which can’t be taught, and informed common sense triumph over derided ‘modern’ methods. The Swedish author of this brilliant novel takes the genre to a new level.

Lars Martin Johansson is retired after a stellar career. He’d been Chief of the National Crime Police and head of the Swedish Security Service. Unfortunately his weakness was rich food and alcohol and he hated exercise. The novel begins with an inevitable near fatal stroke. Once in hospital his life is in the hands of doctors and nurses who, ‘Know whats good for him’. This involves him losing independence. Humorous and wise this is one of the stories. The other is him solving a crime, as it were, from his hospital bed.

A bungled investigation meant that a child killing paedophile escaped justice. Worse: the statute of limitations meant that even if he was caught he couldn’t be prosecuted. Needless to relate the killer is identified and escapes (official) justice. Then the two stories come together in a superb denouement. Warmly recommended


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