I just finished reading The Dying Detective, by Swedish crime writer Leif G.W. Persson (translated by Neil Smith into British English).
This novel is a police procedural without much dramatic action–a subset of crime fiction that I actually prefer. The story required 454 pages from start to finish, but I found that it went quickly.
It is set in Sweden in and around the capital city of Stockholm. There also are many place names farther afield–and I recognized some of them from two business trips to Sweden during my trade magazine editing days decades ago.
There was another thing that stood out: The detective’s brother was named Evert. That was the name of my grandfather who emigrated from Finland to America in 1902. It was quite a surprise when I first encountered the brother’s name, as it is not very common.
Another surprising thing: The main character, Lars Martin Johansson, asks for help from a friend who has taken up the hobby of genealogy. Can you believe that? The friend tracks down some relevant family history connections that help enable Lars to finally deduce who perpetrated the murder in the cold case that he was investigating.
One final thing: Finnish surnames popped up from time to time in the book for minor characters living and working in Sweden. The one I can recall most clearly was Niemi, which is a popular surname in Finland. FYI, it translates into “peninsula” in English according to Google Translate.
Persson even manages to work in a mention of Lisbeth Salander, a key character in the crime novels by Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson (1954-2004). Her most famous role was as the main character in the book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and the movie of the same name.