The Lion’s Tale is a Scandinavian noir thriller set in Stockholm.
Gunvor is unusual in that she has made a recent career change from medical surgeon to private investigator at a late stage in her life; she is sixty-five.
Her latest case is a husband acting strangely and a wife suspicious that he’s having an affair. Gunvor follows her suspect but he spends his evenings in bars filled with a young set of customers. Believing that she will stand out in the crowd, Gunvor enlists the help of two teenagers. However, the case soon takes a darker turn for Gunvor and her protegées.
The story is written in third person, present tense with an omniscient narrator. It meant that the majority of the story was ‘told’ rather than ‘shown’, and I felt no connection to the characters. I enjoyed the first half of the story. However, in the second part I struggled to be convinced by both the characters and the direction of the story. It would have benefitted from a deep point of view aspect to help develop the characters and flesh out the story. With a little work it could be more gritty, with an edge of your seat feel.
Overall, an okay read, but I think this will struggle to compete with other work in this popular genre.
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You’re never too old to become a private detective.
Gunvor Strom may be in her sixties, her hands might be too shaky to perform operations and her body complains every time she works out. But her mind is as sharp as her scalpel.
And she embraces change. After the divorce, she moved from a well-heeled Stockholm satellite to the far-from idyllic, inner suburb of Fruängen. It gets a little lively, but she likes being in the middle of things. She’s smart, experienced and innocent-looking – all qualities appreciated by a detective agency.
As the agency’s rookie, she gets a surveillance job. A straightforward case, they say. Typical domestic. A wife suspects infidelity. Just track the husband.
But when the husband is attacked and viciously beaten, his wife calls off the assignment. Too late. Gunvor is on the trail. The agency aren’t paying her, but her free time is her own business.
After intervening in an incident of bullying, Gunvor finds herself with two unlikely allies. David is a young, jobless waster who hangs about Fruängen tube station. 19-year-old Elin is shy and introverted, after spending too long in her bedroom hiding from her parents’ fights.
Out of curiosity, the pair join forces with Gunvor. Who’s going to notice two young people and an elderly lady slinking around the Stockholm streets?
Only someone who’s watching their every move, biding his time, waiting to pounce. Curiosity can be deadly.
A story of violence, madness, passion and bravery. A cat-and-mouse game of life and death. Never play with the lion’s tail.