I left off my review of the first installment in the Lindstrom Trilogy (Lindstrom Alone) stating that I very much looked forward to reading the next installment. I’m happy to say I liked Lindstrom’s Progress (2018, Iguana Books) much more than I did its predecessor. The former was somewhat overwhelming with its complex philosophical references (Harry Lindstrom is a retired professor of Philosophy) and diverse locations. However, in Lindstrom’ Progress (a nod to The Pilgrim’s Progress, of which there are several references in the story, such as a Vanity Fair magazine) the philosophy is kept to a minimum and the places are relegated to Toronto and Austria.
Harry is tasked by a Viennese police officer (Madalena Strauss) to prove she murdered her lover (I’ll leave the whys and wherefores of her strange request to the reader). Before their meeting, though, Harry witnesses two adults and a child jump off the balcony in the room next to his to their deaths. This disturbing event is witnessed by Harry via a reflection in the glass building across from the hotel, so he is powerless to prevent it. Shortly thereafter he is visited by a fat man by the name of Sakarov, who threateningly tells Harry “You see nothing.” In the intricate story that follows, Harry finds himself not only investigating the murder of Ms. Strauss’ lover but also of his involvement in a child abduction ring of global proportions. Ms. Strauss, as a member of the police, has specialized in investigating the people involved in this ring and has the files to expose them (many are wealthy people such as Conrad Fearman, whom Harry meets in due course at Mr. Fearman’s Muskoka home). Sakarov is involved in this too, somehow, for he threatens Ms. Strauss as well. Knowing she will likely be killed for her knowledge as well as her possession of incriminating files, she gives two priceless Klimt paintings to Harry. Harry is struck by the resemblance of the redheads in each painting with Ms. Strauss and finds there is a connection there as well.
Mr. Moss has created memorable characters such as the Beau Brummell Simon Wales (whom Harry hires as a researcher) that enliven the story and keep the reader’s interest as we follow Harry from ordeal to ordeal. There is a dash of humour as well, such as Harry’s too-easily compromised security system, which is a running joke. The intricate storyline and dialogues are well executed, resulting in an elevated type of literary murder mystery; one that deals with such varied themes as religion, morality, guilt, and facing and accepting reality. In short, a taut and interesting story, great characters and several plot twists that will surprise you. Highly recommended for crime fiction enthusiasts looking for something a little different.
There is an imminent third entry, Lindstrom Unbound, which is due out in March 2019. My review copy of Lindstrom’s Progress was supplied by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Lindstrom’s Progress by John Moss
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