Recently I was in a bookstore in Stockholm and when I inquired about Swedish mystery writers other than Henning Mankell. The owner of the store suggested I purchase BETWEEN SUMMER’S LONGING AND WINTER’S END by Leif G.W. Persson. I did just that and finished reading the book which I found interesting in terms of plot development but not as satisfactory as I would have hoped. The story revolves around a plot to kill the Swedish Prime Minister who in real life in 1986 was assassinated after attending a film in Stockholm. The Prime Minister who was assassinated was Olof Palme and to this day the assassin remains at large. Persson explores the workings of the Swedish justice system leading up to and after the supposed suicide death of John P. Krassner, an American who was writing a book that linked the fictional Prime Minister to the CIA and KGB following World War II. Thus the mystery begins presenting many strands that are woven throughout the narrative carrying the reader through the Post War period, the Cold War, and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Persson’s plot organization is somewhat convoluted as it presents a confusing chronology and a story line that jumps back and forth. The characters are developed fully but I got the feeling that when the author switched characters he did not identify the new person he was introducing clearly. Since the narrative lends itself to an actual assassination the book is worth reading, despite the fact that it does not flow freely at all times. What emerges from the story is Persson’s theory of who killed Olof Palme in 1986. Not being fully versed in Swedish politics his theory sounds very plausible. In the end I am glad that I have read this work of fiction because it has spurred my interest in Swedish foreign and domestic policy, but I do not think the book lived up to my expectations.