Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Time, Another Life

by Leif GW Persson  Pantheon,Tra Edition, March 2012

This is a very good mystery

This is a complex murder mystery set in Sweden over a 25 years period.   In 1975 leftist radicals capture the German embassy in Stockholm and inadvertently blow up the embassy.  Several of the radicals are killed and many are gravely injured.  While the radicals are all German the police suspect that they had help from Swedes.   A decade later a seemly unconnected murder of a civil servant is investigated by police officers Bo Jarnebring and Anna Holt.  The investigation is headed up by an incompetent supervisor, Evert Bäckström and despite the best investigative efforts of the police the murder is unsolved and lumped into a series of homosexual sex crimes.  Ten years later the murder case resurfaces and the investigation leads right into the prime minister’s cabinet.

This is a very good mystery.  It is translated from Swedish and has a clinical documentary style to it.  I’m unsure if the author intended this style or it came from the translation but it works well for this story.  The majority of the story deals with the murder investigation and the techniques used by the Swedish police.  This section is very interesting and as good a police procedural as you’ll read.  The character development of the major characters is well done and the author gives them enough of a back-story to make you care about them.  The section of the book that deals with the investigation of a potential government minister reads like an investigative journalist report.  You can really imagine this stuff happening!

I’d highly recommend this book and look forward to more from this author.
I read a copy of this book borrowed from The Free Library of Philadelphia


Zibilee said...

This is not the type of book that I normally read, but you make it sound so good! I do like books with an intense plot, so I will have to think about reading this one. I also know that it's rare for you to give such a high rating, so that also catches my eye. Great review today! I need to see if my library has this one!

Carole said...

I have to disagree with you on this one- 3 feathers- at the most. You may be right about the translation because something was definitely lost in translation for me.
I did not feel like the players were well characterized, by mid story I was confused and soon enough I didn't much care anymore. I did enjoy how the author included the silent thoughts of the investigators (thoughts never said out loud), and the repetition of those silent themes from one character to another. It added a much needed touch of humor (IMHO)