cover image Fatal Gambit

Fatal Gambit

David Lagercrantz, trans. from the Swedish by Ian Giles. Knopf, $30 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-31923-9

In Lagercrantz’s excellent second investigation for Stockholm police officer Micaela Vargas and professor Hans Rekke (after Dark Music), the pair reopens a cold case when a holiday snapshot suggests a long-missing banker may be alive and well in Venice. Financier Claire Lidman was last seen in 1999 and reported dead 14 years later—but her husband, Samuel, brings Vargas a photograph that he swears contains the supposedly dead woman in the background. Vargas loops in forensics expert Rekke, and the more they investigate, the more they start to believe Samuel. Soon, they uncover Claire’s connections to a vast conspiracy involving high-ranking Swedish government officials, international finance, and organized crime in the former Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Vargas and Rekke face their own dramas: Rekke’s daughter gets a new boyfriend who causes friction between the friends, and an old enemy emerges from the professor’s past. Part of the fun is Lagercrantz’s deliberate use of Holmesian tropes—there’s a Moriarty-like criminal mastermind, and Vargas and Rekke echo Holmes and Watson in more ways than one—but he departs from Conan Doyle’s template with a complex, borderline-baroque mystery plot, to thrilling effect. By the end of the pulse-pounding denouement, readers will be breathless for the next installment. Agent: Jessica Bab, Brave New World. (Sept.)