The Dying Detective: A Mystery

Hardcover | May 23, 2017

byLeif Gw PerssonTranslated byNeil Smith

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A galvanizing new thriller from the internationally acclaimed and best-selling author--a stand-alone novel that finds legendary Swedish homicide detective Lars Martin Johansson racing against time to solve one final murder.
 
In the National Criminal Investigation Department he was known as "the man who sees around corners." Now Johansson is retired, living in the country, his police days behind him. Or so he thinks. When he finds himself in the hospital having suffered a stroke, tests revealing  heart problems as well, the only thing that saves him from despair is his doctor's interest in an unsolved murder case from years before. The victim was a nine-year-old girl, raped and strangled to death, and now Johansson determines to solve the crime despite his condition. He launches an informal investigation from his hospital bed--with the help of Matilda, a wannabe Lisbeth Salander, and Max, an orphan personally invested in child-abuse cases--and begins to draw a web of connections between sex tourism, a deceased opera singer, and a self-made millionaire. And as he draws closer to solving the crime, he finds that he is confronting not just a case, but his own mortality.

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A galvanizing new thriller from the internationally acclaimed and best-selling author--a stand-alone novel that finds legendary Swedish homicide detective Lars Martin Johansson racing against time to solve one final murder.  In the National Criminal Investigation Department he was known as "the man who sees around corners." Now Johanss...

Leif G.W. Persson's previous novels include Backstrom: He Who Kills the Dragon, Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End, and Another Time, Another Life. He has served as an adviser to the Swedish ministry of justice and is Sweden's most renowned psychological profiler. A professor at the Swedish National Police Board, he is considere...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.19 inPublished:May 23, 2017Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307907635

ISBN - 13:9780307907639

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Chapter 1Karlbergsvägen 66 in Stockholm is the location of Günter’s, the best hotdog kiosk in Sweden. Surrounded by sturdy stone buildings many storeys high, all constructed at the start of the last century. Solid brickwork, carefully laid, brick upon brick, with lime-mortar rendering, bow windows and old-fashioned leaded glass. Generous lawns in front of the properties and – at this time of year – leafy trees lining the street. When you enter the buildings there is usually red marble in both the lobbies and stairwells, friezes on the ceilings, ornate plasterwork, even dado panelling in places. The skirting boards and doors are made of oak, an area that gives a bourgeois, affluent impression. Günter’s is also located within the old city boundaries of the most beautiful capital in the world. Just a few hundred metres south of Karlberg Palace and the Karolinska University Hospital, and close to two of the major roads leading away from the north of the city centre. The former head of the National Criminal Police, Lars Martin Johansson, really ought to have been at his summerhouse up in Roslagen today, but that morning he had been obliged to come into the city for a meeting with his bank, to conclude a deal about a patch of forest that he and his eldest brother were involved in. Once that had been arranged, various other matters and errands of a miscellaneous and private nature, which for practical reasons he might as well sort out then and there, had, as usual, cropped up. The list of things to do had rapidly become very long, and by the time he was ready to return to his wife and summer tranquillity on Rådmansö it was almost eight o’clock in the evening and Johansson was hungry as a wolf.   Just a few hundred metres before he would be passing the old tollgate at Roslagstull on his drive north, hunger got the better of him. There was no way he was going to spend an hour driving when his stomach was already screaming at him. So he took a quick detour to the best hotdog kiosk in Sweden, for a well-spiced Yugoslavian bratwurst with salt-pickled Åland gherkins, sauerkraut and Dijon mustard. Or maybe a Zigeuner sausage with its aroma of freshly-ground pepper, paprika and onion? Or should he stay true to his Norrland roots and partake of a lightly-smoked elk sausage with Günter’s homemade mash made from salad potatoes? Absorbed in these pleasant considerations, he parked just a few metres from the kiosk, immediately behind one of the Stockholm Police’s minibuses, and, like them, halfway onto the pavement, before getting out. Given that he had been retired for three years, this was not entirely legal, but it was eminently practical, and some of the habits he had developed during almost fifty years in the force were deeply engrained.  A warm and sunny day in early July, an evening that was as warm as the day had been – far from ideal weather for a hotdog, which presumably went some way to explaining why the queue ahead of him consisted of just four younger colleagues from the Stockholm rapid-response unit. Former colleagues, to be more precise, but they still recognised him. Nods, smiles, their commanding officer raising his right hand to his cropped head even though he had tucked his cap under his belt. “How’s it going, boys?” Johansson asked, having made his mind up as soon as he detected the heavenly smells drifting towards him. The elk sausage could wait until the autumn. Smokiness, well-balanced flavours and Norrlandic stoicism were all very well, but an evening such as this required something stronger. But not too strong, nothing from the southern Balkans. Paprika, onion, pepper and lightly-salted, coarse-ground pork would do very nicely indeed. In fact, considering the weather and his mood, he couldn’t think of anything better. “Nice and calm, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to refuel before the storm breaks,” the officer replied. “You’re welcome to go first, boss, if you like. We’re not in a hurry.” “I’m a pensioner,” Johansson said, for some reason. “And you’ve got to work. Who’s got the energy to harass ne’er-do-wells on an empty stomach?” “We’re still making up our minds,” the officer smiled and nodded. “So, please, go ahead.” “Well, in that case,” Johansson said, and turned to the man behind the counter. “A Zigeuner with sauerkraut and French mustard. And something to drink. A bottle of water, with bubbles. The usual, you know.” He nodded encouragingly to the latest in the succession of Günter’s associates. This one was a youngster called Rudy, an Austrian like Günter himself, and even though Günter had been dead for almost a decade, new staff were almost always recruited from his former homeland. Günter’s best friend Sebastian, who had already taken over before Günter died, Udo, who had worked there for many years, and Katja, who was only there occasionally. There was another one whose name he had forgotten, and finally there was Rudy. Johansson knew them all, and they had known him over the course of several hundred hotdogs, and while Rudy was compiling his order he turned to make some agreeable small-talk with his younger colleagues. Or former colleagues, to be more precise. “This year it will be forty-six years since I started as a beat-officer in Stockholm,” Johansson said. Or is it forty-seven? he thought. Sod it, who cares? “Back when you still carried sabres?” A broad grin from the youngest-looking one. “Watch yourself, kid,” Johansson said. Nice lad, he thought. “And then you moved to surveillance,” the younger officer’s boss said, evidently well-schooled in Johansson’s history. “Ah, you know about that? Fifteen years,” he added. “Together with Jarnebring,” another of them said. “That’s right. You remember the big beasts, then.” “Used to work there. Jarnis, Bosse, was my commanding officer. Best boss I’ve ever had,” he added, for some reason. “Would you like it in French bread, or would you like it on a tray, sir?” Rudy interrupted, holding up the freshly-cooked sausage. “The usual,” Johansson said. “Take a baguette, pull the innards out, then stuff it with sausage, sauerkraut and mustard.” That can’t be too hard to remember, can it? he thought. “Where were we?” he asked, nodding to the colleague who had worked under his best friend.“Jarnebring, Bo Jarnebring.” “That’s right,” Johansson said, with unnecessary emphasis given that he was the one who had forgotten what they were talking about. “Jarnebring, yes. He’s a pensioner as well now, retired at sixty-five, last year. Doing well, by the way. We meet up regularly and fabricate old memories to tell each other.” “Send him my best, sir, Patrik Åkesson, P-two. There were two Patriks in the group and I was last to arrive, so Jarnis called me that to avoid unnecessary confusion when we were out on jobs.” “Sounds like Jarnebring,” Johansson said. He nodded, pocketed his change, and took the sausage and water he had ordered. Then he nodded again, mostly because he didn’t have anything else to say. “Take care of yourselves, lads,” he added. “As I understand it, it’s not like it was back in my day.” They all nodded back, suddenly serious, and their commanding officer once again signalled his respect by raising his hand to his close-cropped head.             In my day you’d have been fired for saluting without your cap on, Johansson thought as he managed, not without some difficulty, to squeeze into the driver’s seat, put his drink into the cup-holder between the seats and move the sausage from his left hand to his right. At that moment someone must have driven an ice-pick into the back of his neck. No rumbling forewarning of an ordinary headache, but a sharp, searing pain that tore through the back of his head. The sounds from the street blurred and became hard to hear, and then disappeared altogether. Darkness spread across his eyes, first the right one, then the left, as if someone had pulled a blind that had been hung up on the skew. His arm went numb and his fingers felt stiff and unresponsive. The sausage fell between the seats. Then nothing but darkness and silence.