Fall of Man in Wilmslow
ORIGINAL TITLE: Syndafall i Wilmslow
AUTHOR: David Lagercrantz
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Albert Bonniers Förlag
England in 1954.
A few years earlier, two Foreign Office employees, Burgess and MacLean, have been revealed as Soviet spies, and have gone underground.
In the USA, Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt against Communists and homosexuals is in full cry.
And in Wilmslow, Cheshire, a man is found dead in his home.
On the bedside table is a half-eaten apple, laced with cyanide. All the indications are that he has committed suicide.
The police investigation is led by a young officer, Leonard Corell, who soon finds himself under considerable pressure from his superiors; the case turns out to be extremely sensitive. The dead man is none other than Alan Turing, mathematician, logician, and cryptographer. During the Second World War he worked at Bletchley Park, Britain’s code breaking centre, and this now leads to the speculation that spying might be involved. In addition, Turing is a known homosexual – at a time when homosexuality is regarded as a mental illness in England, and is punishable under the law.
In thrilling discussions on philosophical-mathematical topics, Lagercrantz evokes the father of modern day computer science in the shape of Alan Turing’s eccentric, unconventional, and free-thinking person.
Gordon Brown posthumously rehabilitated Alan Turing: “The Prime Minister has released a statement on the Second World War code-breaker, Alan Turing, recognising the ‘appalling’ way he was treated for being gay. Alan Turing, a mathematician most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes, was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 and sentenced to chemical castration.”