From the author of the #1 best seller The Girl in the Spider’s Web—an electrifying thriller that begins with Alan Turing’s suicide and plunges into a post-war Britain of immeasurable repression, conformity and fear
June 8, 1954. Several English nationals have defected to the USSR, while a witch hunt for homosexuals rages across Britain. In these circumstances, no one is surprised when a mathematician by the name of Alan Turing is found dead in his home in the sleepy suburb of Wilmslow. It is widely assumed that he has committed suicide, unable to cope with the humiliation of a criminal conviction for gross indecency. But a young detective constable, Leonard Corell, who once dreamed of a career in higher mathematics, suspects greater forces are involved.
In the face of opposition from his superiors, he begins to assemble the pieces of a puzzle that lead him to one of the most closely guarded secrets of the war: the Bletchley Park operation to crack the Nazis’ Enigma encryption code. Stumbling across evidence of Turing’s genius, and sensing an escape from a narrow life, Corell begins to dig deeper. But in the paranoid, febrile atmosphere of the Cold War, loose cannons cannot be tolerated and Corell soon realizes he has much to learn about the dangers of forbidden knowledge.
He is also about to be rocked by two startling developments in his own life, one of which will find him targeted as a threat to national security.
Lagercrantz (The Girl in the Spider's Web) proves that he can succeed with wholly original work in this multifaceted look at the death of British mathematician Alan Turing in 1954. Det. Constable Leonard Corell welcomes the assignment of looking into Turing's apparent suicide as a break from the boredom of working in the quiet backwater of Wilmslow. Corell, who as a boy had a head for numbers, feels a connection with the dead man, a sentiment that deepens when the policeman learns that Turing was arrested for indecency and subject to some horrific treatments intended to "cure" him of his homosexuality. Turing's experience revives painful memories of Corell's own boarding school days, even as his investigation attracts the attention of higher-ups who want things handled discreetly. Corell's identification with Turing threatens his own professional standing when he bridles at speculation at the inquest as to Turing's motives for committing suicide. Some memorable prose (Corell recalls a question from his father as reaching "out to him like two open arms") enhances the complex plot.