The Dying Detective

The Dying Detective,  Leif G W Persson

When retired police chief Lars Martin Johansson meets some of his ex colleagues at the best burger van in Sweden and suffers a stroke as he gets back to his car, his life is changed forever. He’s driven quickly to the hospital where diagnosis and treatment are swift, but instead of the dynamic, in control person he used to be, he becomes dependent on others to help him get through the day. No longer in control of his own body, he struggles to get used to the idea that he needs regular appointments with his neurologist, cardiologist and physiotherapist. Whilst in hospital he gets to know his neurologist, Dr Stenholm, who piques his interest in an old case that has never been solved. Twenty five years after the murder of a little girl remains unsolved, the case is officially designated as ‘prescribed’ which means that even if it is solved, the perpetrator cannot be prosecuted.
As Johannson returns home determined to find out more about the case, we learn a to about how his own life has changed. Now in need of a carer, his wife employs a young lady called Matilda who appears to frustrate and fascinate Johannson in equal measure. Add the mysterious Russian PA sent over to help by Johannson’s brother, and the whole scenario becomes more complex. This is a really good read – one of the few novels I have read that give fairly accurate descriptions of how it might be to live in the aftermath of stroke, but still at its heart, a detective story with all the associated twists and turns that you would hope for.
Aided and abetted by friend and ex colleague Jarnebring, and despite his wife’s best efforts, Johannson is determined to solve the case. and somehow bring the murderer to justice. This is a really well constructed book – holds the attention well, and has an interesting way of drawing to its conclusion. Thanks are due to the publishers, Random House UK, for making a copy available for review through Netgalley. This is the first of Leif G W Persson’s books that I have encountered, but I will certainly watch out for more.

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