Author(s): Leif G. W. Persson
In the middle of an unusually hot Swedish summer, a young woman studying at the Vaxjo Police Academy is brutally murdered. Police Inspector Evert Backstrom is unwillingly drafted in from Stockholm to head up the investigation. Egotistical, vain and utterly prejudiced against everything, Backstropm is a man who has no sense of duty or responsibilty, thinks everyone with the exception of himself is an imbecile and is only really capable of warm feelings towards his pet goldfish and the nearest bottle of liquor. If they are to solve the case, his long suffering team must work around him, following the scant few leads which remain after Backstrom's intransigence has let the trail go cold. Blackly comic, thrillingly compelling and utterly real, "Linda, As in the Linda Murder" is the novel which introduces the reader to the modern masterpiece that is Evert Backlstrom, a man described by his creator as 'short, fat and primitive'. He is, without doubt, the real deal when it comes to modern policing.
Leif Persson is a Swedish crime writer I have just discovered and Linda, as in the Linda Murder is quite a change from the usual Scandinavian crime genre. The almost unpronounceable names are much the same, the landscape is familiar, but this book is really very different. For starters, the main protagonist, Evert Bäckström is, according to his creator, short, fat and primitive; he is also lazy, opportunistic and incredibly sexist. He and a handful of colleagues are sent from the National Crime Unit to Växjö in southern Sweden to ‘assist’ local police with solving a crime. As a detective Evert is completely incompetent, being more interested in how quickly he can get back to his hotel room for a quick nap and how much alcohol he can get in before the nap, after the nap and during each evening. His one erratic and ultimately fleeting emotional contact is with his goldfish Egon, who he has to leave behind while he travels to Växjö. Evert’s colleagues carry on with the investigation while Evert imagines he has the case on the brink of being solved. Evert is surrounded by a cast of believable characters whom he internally assassinates regularly and in a most vicious way. The plot is intricate and it takes some time, and some interesting detective work, for Linda’s murderer to be found. Parts of this book had me laughing out loud which is something I don’t usually do when reading crime fiction. The author is Scandinavia’s most renowned criminologist and a leading psychological profiler, and his expertise can be seen in this book. - Marie
An award-winning, darkly comic and compelling Swedish crime novel from a master of the genre
Leif G,W. Persson is Scandinavia's most renowned criminologist and a leading psychological profiler. He has also served as an advisor to the Swedish Ministry of Justice. Since 1991, he has been Professor at the National Swedish Police Board and is regularly consulted by media as the country's foremost expert on crime. He is the author of nine bestselling novels including most recently The Dying detective which won both the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers' Award for Best Crime Novel of 2010 and The Glass Key for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of 2010.