Before he gained fame in the US as the Swedish author taking over the mystery series featuring the fictional heroine Lisbeth Sander, David Lagercrantz wrote this novel about the death of mathematician Alan Turing. The story follows not Turing himself but the detectives investigating his suicide.
As the detective character comes to better understand his society's unfair treatment of homosexuals, he also becomes obsessed with the role that the liar's paradox plays in Alan Turing's work. He eventually is able to work out Turing's role in the war, thereby getting himself into trouble. In a cheerful epilogue, we see the positive changes that this investigation have made in the detective's life and he speculates about how happy Turing would have been to know how it all turns out
The ingredients of this story are well-known to many by now: questions at the foundation of mathematical logic (e.g. computability), top secret programs to break the Nazi Enigma code, early digital computers, a brilliant and bluntly honest homosexual mathematician, and a homophobic British society. In this version, however, rather than being presented in a linear or chronological fashion, because the pieces are put together by a detective investigating Turing's suicide, they come out very slowly and in a strange order, mixed with occasional misinformation. I imagine that might work well for someone learning about Turing's life and achievements for the first time, but I am afraid I found it rather frustrating.
Published in Swedish in 2009. An English translation by George Goulding first appeared in 2016. |