Falling Freely, As If In A Dream by Leif G W Persson
|Falling Freely, As If In A Dream by Leif G W Persson|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: True crime meets crime fiction as a group of detecties take another look at the unsolved murder of Prime Minister Olaf Palme. It might look like a brick of a book, but it's a great read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 608||Date: October 2014|
In 2007 Lars Martin Johansson, the head of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Sweden, was approaching retirement and he had one unsolved case which he would dearly love to clear: the murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986. Palme, without bodyguards, had left a cinema in central Stockholm with his wife and was walking home when he was shot in the back. He died almost instantly and his wife suffered a minor injury, whilst the assassin sprinted away into the people milling around in the city. There were witnesses to the killing and people who saw the killer as he escaped. Some time after the death a man was convicted of the murder, but he was later cleared and more than twenty years later the identity of the killer is still a mystery.
It was in 2007 that I went to visit my daugher who was living in Stockholm. After a pleasant morning wandering around the city we found ourselves in the dress department in Nordiska Kompaniet, a department store in the centre of Stockholm. I commented on how much I liked the city, how safe I felt and my daughter told me about the murder of Anna Lindh, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was stabbed in the NK dress department. It seemed crass to enquire if it was still in the same place, but we walked on and my daughter added that there was also the murder of Olof Palme for which no one had been brought to justice.
Johansson set a team of detectives to wade through the millions of documents accumulated in the course of the original investigations into the murder. Of course, they weren't actually looking into the murder itself - that would create a media storm - they were looking into indexing all the documents, which had a room to themselves. They're a good team with a good balance of skills who look at all the different 'tracks' to the investigation - it was thought that various groups might have been involved in the murder and each was given a 'track'. One track emerges as being more credible than the others and the group find themselves deep in a conspiracy theory. There's a lot of the book which is fact but the blending with fiction is seamless and the conclusions drawn are compelling.
Leif G W Persson is a renowned criminologist as well as being a leading psychological profiler and his background shows clearly in Falling Freely, As If In A Dream. There's all the detail of real police work, such as I've found in books by Lisa Cutts or Elizabeth Haynes and the emphasis is on teamwork rather than the individual who goes out and solves the crime all on his own. Persson is good with dialogue and excellent at characterisation, but for me the real treat was the city of Stockholm - it was a real pleasure to wander the streets again.
The book might look like a brick, but short chapters encourage the 'just few more pages' instinct and I found it a surprisingly quick read. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson- but then you probably knew that already!
You can read more book reviews or buy Falling Freely, As If In A Dream by Leif G W Persson at Amazon.co.uk
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