Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End: The Story of a Crime
Leif GW Persson
Pantheon, Sep 14 2010, $27.95
American John Krassner is in Stockholm writing a biography on his uncle, OSS agent Colonel John Buchanan just after WW II. Krassner has found evidence that ties Buchanan to a Swedish politician known as "Pilgrim", but he is unsure who that is though he has an idea.
Meanwhile the Swedish secret police have become concerned with threats to their Prime Minister Olaf Palme. They link the noise to the American Krassner, who almost immediately is under suspicion. He apparently commits suicide by jumping from a student dorm window. He almost kills an elderly pedestrian walking his Pomeranian, but Charlie the dog saves his owner’s life only to have the leaper’s shoe kill the dog. Soon afterward someone assassinates Palme, but the Swedish manhunt fails to find a killer or a valid group claiming the hit. However, police superintendent Lars Johansson finds a tie between the dead American, his uncle and the murdered PM.
Constructed around the unsolved cold case murder of PM Palme, Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End: The Story of a Crime is an interesting first act of a fictionalized account of the assassination. The story line has too much going on especially in the first sections of the novel making it difficult to follow. However, once Johansson takes control of the plot, the whodunit becomes more focused and enjoyable. Though Lars (so far at least) is no Falck or Wallender, fans of Camilla Lackberg and Henning Mankell will enjoy this opening police procedural that delves deep into the Swedish identity haunted by the homicide a quarter of a century ago.