Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End (The Story of a Crime Series #1)

Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End (The Story of a Crime Series #1)

3.2 10
by Leif GW Persson
     
 

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A young man falls to his death from a window in a student dorm in Stockholm, his loose shoe striking and killing the little dog being taken for his evening walk by an old man. It seems to be a mundane suicide—at least that’s what the police choose to think. But the young man is American, not Swedish, and there are a couple of odd things about his room

Overview

A young man falls to his death from a window in a student dorm in Stockholm, his loose shoe striking and killing the little dog being taken for his evening walk by an old man. It seems to be a mundane suicide—at least that’s what the police choose to think. But the young man is American, not Swedish, and there are a couple of odd things about his room when they search it. . . .
 
From these tiny beginnings, Leif GW Persson slowly begins to unravel a puzzle that gets larger and larger as it becomes more and more complex, until it sweeps us into a web of international espionage, backroom politics, greed, sheer incompetence, and the shoddy work of Sweden’s intelligence force that leads to the murder of the prime minister.
 
The first novel in a dark and dazzling trilogy that has become the defining fictional account of the unsolved 1986 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme—an event that triggered the biggest criminal investigation in recorded history—Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End is a riveting insider’s combination of black satire, thriller, psychological drama, and police procedural by a writer universally acknowledged as Sweden’s leading criminologist.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An addictive thriller.”—Raleigh Times-Dispatch

“Laced with irony and satire . . . Reminiscent of Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson in its toughness . . . Persson does a fine job of pitting one desperate soul against another in a philosophically charged tale worthy of Ingmar Bergman—but with lots more guns.”—Kirkus (starred)

“A brilliant political thriller.”—Der Tagesspiegel
 
“One of the best Swedish crime novels of all time.”—Expressen
 
“This is not only a compelling crime story to be read without stopping until the last page. It is not only an unforgettable tale with a ferocious and bitter unexpected ending. It is much more. This is a masterpiece.”—Il Sole 24 Ore
 
“A teeth-gritting political thriller . . . Authentic with silent anger, tough and utterly haunting.”—Berliner Morgenpost
 
“One of the most exhaustive investigations ever to have been written about. A plot full of suspense, a great adventure, and a philosophical view of the dark and painful sides of life.” —Il Giornale di Vicenza
 
“Funny, sharp, thrilling, and entertaining. Indeed, you almost think it’s too good to be true, at least until you start reading and are convinced.”—Kristeligt Dagblad

"Leif GW Persson's big lush novel is a tale of mystery and intrigue and murder.  Mostly set in Sweden before the collapse of the Soviet Union it begins with the body of an American falling from a building.  Was it an accident or a suicide?  Surely it couldn't have been a murder, or so the police believe.  Enter Lars Johansson, a police official known as 'a real policeman.' His interest in the dead American will take him to New York and to the FBI academy in Quantico, and will reveal Cold War machinations from a generation earlier that are connected to the man who fell from the building. For Johansson, entering this case is like entering a hall of mirrors within a maze, where international scheming, secret police,  including one with bizarre sexual proclivities, and even the assassination of a prime minister, are all connected one way or the other to that American.  From a country known for terrific crime novelists, Sweden's great crime writer Leif GW Persson brilliantly takes the reader into a world of fascinating mystery and secrets."
—Joseph Wambaugh

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307379474
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/14/2010
Series:
Story of a Crime Series , #1
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
274,300
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

“Approximately five minutes before eight last Friday evening the aforementioned Krassner fell from his room on the sixteenth floor in that student skyscraper up on Valhallavägen. He was subleasing it—it seems some international housing agency for students arranged it. Got the name of it in my papers. Anyway,” said Jarnebring and looked at the ceiling while trying to collect his thoughts.
 
“Murder, suicide, accident,” said Johansson. “What’s the problem?”
 
“Most likely suicide,” said Jarnebring. “Among other things he left behind a letter. Tech called this morning and let it be known that his prints are on the letter. Right where they should be if he’d written it himself.”
 
“You mean the corpse’s fingerprints,” said Johansson. “You mean that the corpse’s prints are where they ought to be, but how do you know that the corpse’s prints are his?”
 
“They’re his prints,” said Jarnebring. “I already got that on the fax from the embassy yesterday.”
 
“They had Krassner’s fingerprints? Does he have a record?”
 
Jarnebring shook his head.
 
“No, but they seem to have taken prints on almost everyone over in the States. They’d taken his when he was working extra at check-in at some airport. They haven’t said a peep about whether or not he might have some criminal past. Seems to have been a completely ordinary gloomy bastard.”
 
“Suicide,” repeated Johansson. “What’s the problem?”
 
Jarnebring shrugged his shoulders.
 
“If there is one,” he said. “For one thing I don’t know who he is, although I’ve asked the embassy to help me with that. They promised to talk with the police where he was living and find out if they knew him.”
 
“Okay,” said Johansson.
 
“Then he seems to have been running in and out where he was    living.”
 
Jarnebring quickly recounted Krassner’s movements and his own conversation with Professor Lidman.
 
“Lidman says that this isn’t at all uncommon. Goes around happy and energetic and smiles at everyone he meets—smiling depression I guess it’s called. And then just bang, no, that’s enough now, now I’m going to take my life. Can be quite irrational at the same time as they seem completely normal.”
 
“I’ll buy that,” said Johansson, who’d had a cousin who had left his youngest daughter’s birthday party in the best spirits to go out to the garage and hang himself.
 
“And then there’s a shoe,” said Jarnebring and recounted his and Hultman’s theories without mentioning the latter by name.
 
“Seems highly plausible,” said Johansson. “I’m in agreement with you, suicide.”
 
He glanced furtively at his watch. The shoe bumped against a window ledge or a balcony railing or perhaps even a birdhouse that some biology student has nailed up outside his little window, thought Johansson and smiled.
 
“Sure,” said Jarnebring. “Up until yesterday afternoon when that damn shoe started haunting me again.” He nodded at Johansson and seemed both serious and sincerely concerned.
 
“How so?” said Johansson.
 
“Have you ever seen this rag here?” replied Jarnebring, handing over the August issue of the American monthly magazine Soldier of Fortune.
 
“Soldier of Fortune,” said Johansson, making a grimace at the camouflage- wearing characters rushing across the cover against heavy gunfire.
 
“Isn’t that one of those American neo-Nazi rags?”
 
“Yes,” said Jarnebring. “It was one of the younger officers in the department here who tipped me off. There was a whole pile in their break room. Soldier of Fortune, The Minuteman, Guns & Ammo, The Survivalist,” he explained. “That kind of American extreme right-wing rag aimed at gun nuts and old Klan members and the type who just want to go out and make war in general, not exactly socialist rags, if you know what I mean.”
 
No, thought Johansson, for how would that sort of thing wind up in a break room in a Swedish police station?
 
“Contains a ton of advertisements for weapons and survival gear and what you should know if the Russkies come, on how you become a mercenary and how you can fuck with the police and how you evade taxes.Yes, every kind of shit imaginable,” concluded Jarnebring.
 
 “Where does the shoe come in?” asked Johansson judiciously.
 
“If you look in the ad section, page eighty-nine. There’s an ad for a company which is called StreetSmart, shortened SS.”
 
Johansson had already found the ad in question; it offered all the necessities for the person who wanted to survive in the “jungle where we humans are forced to live.” For reasons that, considering the context, didn’t appear particularly murky, the ad had the same typeface as the two “S”s that the German Nazi Schutzstaffel had worn on their uniform lapels.
 
“I still don’t understand,” Johansson persisted.
 
“The damn shoe,” said Jarnebring, holding out a strong left boot of brown leather with a high upper. He looked almost cheerful. “The same damn shoe that the mutt took on the head, although surely that must have been a coincidence,” he thought out loud.
 
Jarnebring pressed his thumb against the sole, and at the same time he tugged hard with his right hand against the sturdy heel. Out fell a metal-colored key, and after that floated a small scrap of paper the size of a business card.
 
“Open sesame,” said Jarnebring with a satisfied smile. “Shoe of the well-known brand StreetSmart with a hollow heel.”
 
“The key appears to be for a safe-deposit box or some type of safe, most likely back in the States,” Jarnebring continued, holding it up. “The embassy is working on that too, so I’m taking it easy.”
 
“I see,” said Johansson. What should he say? He’d heard and seen worse. “What was in the other shoe?”
 
Jarnebring shook his head.
 
“That one was empty,” he said. “I’m guessing that he was right-handed.”
 
Johansson nodded. That seems plausible, he thought.
 
“Don’t you want to know what was on the paper?” Jarnebring looked at him expectantly.
 
Johansson showed a poker face and shrugged his shoulders. Jarnebring pushed the paper over and Johansson read the two lines of handwritten text.
 
An honest Swedish Cop. Police Superintendent Lars M. Johansson
Wolmar Yxkulls Gata 7 A, 116 50 Stockholm.

Johansson looked at the paper again. He was holding it carefully by the edges between the nails of his thumb and index finger, from old habit. Although this time it appeared to be unnecessary. Judging by the grayblack specks, someone had already dusted it for fingerprints. Like a calling card, thought Johansson, about five by eight centimeters.
 
Folded in the middle. He looked at Jarnebring, who wore the same expression that his children used to have when they were little and it was Christmas Eve.
 
“It’s someone trying to pull our legs,” said Johansson. “My leg,” he corrected.
 
“I thought so too. At first I thought so. Now I’m pretty sure it’s Krassner who wrote what’s there.”
 
“Tell me,” said Johansson, leaning back in his chair. At the same time he couldn’t help sneaking a glance at the little scrap of paper. At first, Jarnebring had thought along the same lines as Johansson. When, after duly efficient investigations, he found out that the same police trainee, Oredsson, who had fetched Krassner’s shoes and clothes and left them in his office had also been one half of the “first patrol car on the scene,” as well as the half that had placed the aforementioned shoe in its plastic bag, sealed the bag, and sent it with the hearse to the forensic-medicine office, the matter was signed, sealed, and delivered. I’ll boil that bastard for glue, thought Jarnebring, and ten minutes later Oredsson and Stridh were each sitting on a chair in the corridor outside Jarnebring’s office, and it was Oredsson who got to come in first.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Leif GW Persson has chronicled the political and social development of modern Swedish society in his award-winning novels for more than three decades. Persson 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 the country’s foremost expert on crime. He lives in Stockholm.

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Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
PastelPainter More than 1 year ago
After noting the negative reviews I was prepared to abandon reading this novel early on but I was engrossed from the beginning. There are a few slow spots but the characters and the unwinding of the mystery are interesting enough to get through those. There is some humor and cleverness and the last 100 pages are action filled and the revelations surprising. It helps to be at least a little familiar with Olaf Palme's bio but you can find that quickly on Wilipedia.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As in most Scandinavian novels, there are no blacks and whites but varying shades of grey. Characters are very believable as is what happens to them. Quite obvious a sequel is in the works or should be. Or maybe it's just reflecting how are unsettled life really is. Looking forward to another book from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
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. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cynical, long-winded, great if you like that sort of thing. A denser view of Swedish police political sensibilities than this reviewer was prepared for. But it would I think reward the patient reader.
PeteAS More than 1 year ago
Five hundred and fifty pages many of which added nothing except to lengthen the story. After reaching the end feel most disappointed in that nothing is actually resolved. The only reason I finished the book to see how it ended and that was totally dissatisfying.
Betsybov More than 1 year ago
If Persson had stuck with the facts it could have been printed on two hundres pages instead of over five hundred. There is so much unnecessary info in this book, that if one doesn't skim it to get thru it, you will fall asleep while reading it. It's like day and night compared with Stieg Larsson' trilogy.