Posts Tagged ‘leif gw persson’

He Who Kills The Dragon

He who Kills the Dragon is the fourth book by Swedish author Leif G.W. Persson to be translated into English and again features Detective Evert Bäckström, perhaps the least likable hero (if such a term can be applied to Bäckström) in modern detective fiction.

He who Kills the Dragon is a black comedy. As Bäckström struggles with a new exercise and diet regime order by his doctor, he and his colleagues are called in to investigate a murder. For Bäckström’s colleagues there is the hope that Bäckström, newly reinstated to the murder squad, will fail. For Bäckström there is the certainty that this is another crime perpetuated by homosexual, vegetarian, foreigners seeking to undermine all Swedish society. Unfortunately for his colleagues Bäckström’s luck is as large as his beer gut and the case is solved despite Bäckström’s involvement.

Persson’s Bäckström novels are wonderful satiric, extending to the murder mystery the almost universal office experience of having to work with the human health hazard. Persson gives equal time to Bäckström and his colleagues showcasing their mutual loathing and mistrust.

I can happily state that knowledge of previous Bäckström novels is no barrier to enjoying this book; in fact it whetted my appetite for other books by this author to see why Bäckström was so loathed. If you like your murder mysteries with a touch of humour Persson is an author to seek out and He who Kills the Dragon is an excellent place to start.


Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Simon


another time another life1975 – German radicals hold the West German embassy in Stockholm hostage, demanding the release of Baader-Meinhof members imprisoned in West Germany.  The siege ends with the deaths of two hostage and capture of the terrorists.

1985 – a Swedish civil servant is murdered in mysterious circumstances.  The two detectives investigating were hindered by a corrupt, incompetent senior officer.

1999 – the Swedish Security Police look into open case files, two on Swedes who were suspected of collaborating in the 1975 attack on the German embassy, one of whom was murdered in 1989…..

The investigation is reopened and leads up the Swedish political ladder to the Prime Minister’s office.

This was a DNF (Did Not Finish) book for me.  Despite the plot being complex and tightly plotted, there was very little action.  The story started off well and then slowed, with the author describing ‘he did this’, then ‘she did this’ then ‘he did that’.  The characters started off being sympathetic but then some additional nasty ones were added and they all seemed one dimensional and flat.  I stopped reading halfway through which was a shame as I wanted to know the ending.

This is just a personal opinion and obviously I don’t ‘get’ subtle books or the Swedish humour didn’t translate well into English for me.  Don’t let me put you off if the synopsis appeals to you.

Double Day

Supplied by Random House

Reviewed by Jan