Backstrom: He Who Kills The Dragon by Leif Gw PerssonBackstrom: He Who Kills The Dragon by Leif Gw Persson

Backstrom: He Who Kills The Dragon

byLeif Gw Persson

Paperback | January 20, 2015

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From a master of Scandinavian crime fiction--the first in a brilliant series of novels centered around the investigations of one irascible, obdurate, and very thirsty Swedish police officer: Detective Superintendent Evert Bäckström of the National Murder Squad.
Detective Bäckström is Persson's persistently repulsive yet undeniably brilliant comic creation--an unforgettable cop winding his way through the black comedy of a crime scene, and managing to upset nearly everyone in the process.When a newspaper delivery boy finds a 68 year-old alcoholic lying dead in his apartment--beaten with a saucepan lid and hammer, and then strangled--everyone expects an open-and-shut murder case, everyone that is but Hawaiian-shirt clad Detective Bäckström who's been assigned to lead the investigation team. Under strict orders from his doctor to improve his health as quickly as possible, Bäckström has begun stumbling to work on foot, and even eating vegetables. The police force isn't what it used to be though, and now that it's crowded with women and foreigners resisting a drink is harder than ever before. But when the newspaper boy goes missing Bäckström's suspicions are proven correct, giving his irrepressible mix of luck and laziness a chance to save the day, while managing to upset nearly everyone in the process.
Leif GW Persson has chronicled the political and social development of modern Swedish society in his award-winning novels for more than three decades. He has served as an adviser to the Swedish Ministry of Justice and is Sweden's most renowned psychological profiler. He is a professor at Sweden's National Police Board and is considered...
Title:Backstrom: He Who Kills The DragonFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8 × 5.17 × 0.75 inPublished:January 20, 2015Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307950387

ISBN - 13:9780307950383

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could Not Put it Down Backtrom - the neaderthal of the Stockholm PD. This is well worth the read as a minor character from LGWP's previous book takes center stage as the main and very flawed character. His best book so far.
Date published: 2015-06-17

Read from the Book

1.   A gravy-stained tie, a cast-iron saucepan lid and a basic upholstery hammer with a broken wooden handle. These were the three most striking things found by the forensics team of Solna Police during their preliminary investigation of the crime-scene. But you didn’t have to be a forensics expert to work out that these three things had, in all probability, been used to kill the victim. Anyone with a pair of eyes and a strong stomach could figure that out. As far as the upholstery hammer with the broken handle was concerned, it became clear relatively quickly that – with, if possible, even greater probability – those initial impressions had been wrong, and that the hammer at least hadn’t been used when the perpetrator killed his victim.As the forensics team got on with their work, the investigating officers had done what they had to. They’d knocked on the doors of people living nearby, asking about the victim and if anyone had seen anything that could be connected to what had happened. One woman, a civilian under contract with the police, had set to work finding out whatever she could from her computer – contracted civilians usually took care of that line of inquiry.It didn’t take long before they had uncovered the tragic story of the most common murder victim in Swedish criminal history during the one and a half centuries that records had been kept. Probably considerably longer than that, seeing as court records from as far back as the early medieval period show the same picture as the legal records of industrialised society. The classic Swedish murder victim, if you like. In today’s terminology: “A single, middle-aged man, socially marginalised, with a serious alcohol dependency.”   “Your standard pisshead, basically,” was how Detective Superintendent Evert Bäckström, head of the preliminary investigation for Solna Police, described the victim to his boss after the initial meeting of the team on the case.   2.   Even if there was more than enough proof in both the neighbour’s statements and the information pulled from various registers, the evidence provided by the two forensics experts had given further support to the argument.“A typical drunken murder, if you ask me, Bäckström,” the older of the pair, Peter Niemi, summarised the case when he presented his and his colleague’s findings at the same preliminary meeting. The tie, saucepan lid and hammer all belonged to the victim, and had been in the flat before the unfortunate sequence of events began. The tie had simply been found round the victim’s neck. Under the collar, as per usual, but in this case pulled a couple of inches too tight and, just to be sure, tied across his throat with a basic reef-knot.Two people, one of them the victim himself to judge by the fingerprints, appeared to have spent the hours leading up to the murder eating and drinking together in the same flat. Empty bottles of spirits and export-strength lager, beer and vodka glasses, the remains of a meal on two plates on the table in the living room, together with matching scraps of food found in the small kitchen, all provided evidence that the victim’s last meal had consisted of that old Swedish classic, pork chops and kidney beans. The beans were evidently bought as a ready-meal, to judge from the plastic packaging found in the bin, from a local supermarket earlier that day. Then, before they were served, they had been heated up in the cast-iron pan whose lid the killer had used to hit his host repeatedly around the head with later that same evening.   The coroner had reached much the same conclusions. He had passed these on to the forensics expert who had been at the post-mortem, seeing as he himself was busy with more important matters when the police team were due to hold their first meeting. His definitive findings would take another week or so to appear in writing, but the usual basic dissection and a trained eye were enough to provide a preliminary oral report.“Our unfortunate victim was what I believe you gentlemen of the police call a pisshead,” the coroner had explained, because, in contrast to present company, he was an educated man who was expected to choose his words carefully.   Taken as a whole, all of this – the neighbours’ statements, the sad little notes about the victim in official files, the findings from the scene of the crime, the coroner’s initial report – provided the police with all they really needed to know. Two pissheads, previously acquainted with one another, had met for a bite to eat and considerably more to drink, had fallen into an argument about one of the many pointless matters that made up their private shared history. And one of them had brought their evening together to an end by beating the other to death.It was no more complicated than that. There was a reasonably good expectation of finding the culprit among the victim’s closest circle of like-minded acquaintances, and inquiries were already underway. Cases like this were cleared up nine times out of ten, and the papers were usually on the public prosecutor’s desk within a month.   A purely routine case, in other words, and it didn’t occur to any of the officers of the Solna Police who participated in that first meeting to call in specialist expertise from outside – from, for instance, the psychological profiling unit of the National Criminal Investigation Department, or even the National Police Board’s own Professor of Criminology, who happened to live just a few blocks away from the victim.Nor had any of these experts been in contact of their own accord, which was a good thing, seeing as they were bound to have certified that things were exactly as everyone already knew they were. Now at least there was no danger of them being caught with their trousers down in terms of scientific evidence.But when it came down to it, it turned out that all of the above – everything that had been deduced from the accumulation of criminological evidence, tried and tested police experience, and the good old gut instinct that all real policemen develop over time – was completely and utterly wrong.   “Okay, give me the basics, Bäckström,” Anna Holt, Bäckström’s boss, the Police Chief of the Western District, said when Bäckström ran through the case for her the day after the murder.“Just your average pisshead,” Bäckström said, nodding solemnly.“Okay, you’ve got five minutes,” Holt sighed. She had several other items on her agenda, at least one of which was considerably more important that Bäckström’s case.