Title: Lost and Found in Stockholm: A Kim Smith Mystery
Author: Leonard Di Gregorio
Genre: Crime Fiction
Lost and found in Stockholm begins with a round-up of a Jewish family by the Nazis during World War II. A husband, Abraham, his wife, Berta, and their son, Samuel, are transported by train to Czechoslovakia. By the end of the war, only Samuel managed to survive. He is taken to England where he begins a new life. Sixty years later, Kim Smith, a Detective with the NYPD is assigned a case where famous art pieces have gone missing. She has been tasked to go to Norway to aid in the recovery of “The Scream” and “The Madonna.” Kim knows how to ask the right questions to generate promising leads and get the sought after results. Sixteen years later, a similar case will bring her back to Europe on the trail of stolen art where the stakes are even higher.
Author Leonard Di Gregorio’s stimulating story starts with the grim spectacle of the Nazi persecution and genocide of the Jewish people and then ably segues to the offices of the NYPD without missing a beat. The 180-degree change in tone doesn’t hamper the plot in any way, as the introduction of Detective Kim Smith brings the possibility of justice that was absent in the opening pages. Smith is a cerebral Detective with a talented knack for the art world. Smith inhabits the boys club of the NYPD, but that doesn’t deter her from being a stand-out cop.
The action of the story is primarily in Norway. Smith is not your stereotypical “fish out of water.” She can question a suspect and win their trust without sacrificing or compromising her integrity during the process. She will toe the line in respecting the rules of foreign jurisdictions. When she makes a deal to elicit information, she is a woman of her word. When confronted with violence, Smith will not back down one bit, making her an intimidating adversary to any and all criminals who cross her path.
The duality of Kim Smith’s role as a cop/single mother provides the emotional backdrop for the movement of the story. While Smith is chasing storied works of art, her college-aged daughter is rebelling at home. This aspect of Smith’s life provides more than a hint of realism to her story.
Smith as a character is nearly fully developed as the story advances. The time jump between her introduction in 2006 and the present day leave a void for a little more exploration of her character. There are hints to Smith’s backstory and how she was the victim of a gross breach of trust that left her guarded in relationships. Di Gregorio’s narrative comes up a little short by not fleshing out the arc of his protagonist in this regard.
“Lost and found in Stockholm” proves to be an absorbing read from the get-go as the action never truly dissipates. Author Leonard Di Gregorio has written an intellectually charged and taut mystery where the reader will follow the leads as doggedly as the heroic Detective. The fascinating world of fine art and the corruption that threatens to upend it prove transfixing.
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