Fall of Man in Wilmslow

Knopf. May 2016. 354p. tr. from Swedish by George Goulding. ISBN 9781101946695. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101946701. F
In 1954, DC Leonard Corell finds the body of Dr. Alan Turing in his bed, apparently a suicide. Turing, the British mathematical genius who played a major role in cracking the Nazi Enigma code machine during World War II, had recently been convicted of homosexual acts and removed from government service. Corell's math background helps him investigate whether any state secrets had been compromised. It's the era of the Cambridge Five spies in England and the McCarthy hearings in the United States, and Turing's role in both countries is under close scrutiny. Lagercrantz interweaves the historical events of Turing's life with the fictional Corell's investigation, shifting point of view among various figures. While Lagercrantz's premise is intriguing, Corell is full of insecurity and self-pity and dwells on it far too much. In fact, he doesn't really investigate much nor act decisively. The depiction of Turing is done well, but there is little mystery present, and the writing resembles a 19th-century character study.
VERDICT Readers who relished the Swedish author's acclaimed sequel (The Girl in the Spider Web) to Stieg Larsson's trilogy and its vividly drawn protagonists will be disappointed in his passive treatment of his characters here.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing