AN END TO THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES?

No other event in Swedish history has generated more conspiracy theories than the murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986.  His assassination scarred the Swedish psyche and shattered the nation’s innocence.  It was Sweden’s JFK moment. The 59-year-old Palme was a controversial figure in some quarters because he wasn’t afraid to speak out against violence in other countries and inequalities closer to home.   After being shot on a Stockholm street (on the way to the cinema with his wife), theories as to who was behind his murder have raged for thirty-four years.  I briefly touched on some of these in Meet me in Malmö; they ranged from lone killers to groups who had...

read more

HEALTHY RESPECT

Whatever I write now will probably be out of date within twenty-four hours, such is the swiftness of the coronavirus.  What the pandemic is highlighting is that incredible, dedicated people work in the health services around the world.  In the UK, we have always been proud of our National Health Service despite it seeing years of government neglect.  Now maybe one positive result of this dreadful situation is that future governments will respect and invest in our health system. Of course, I’ve been keeping an eye on how Sweden has handled the crisis, as I have family and friends over there.  Initially, their approach was similar to the UK’s – not to do anything...

read more

A TALE OF MURDER AND MYSTERY

As we approach the festive season, there is a lot to look forward to – catching up with old friends, celebrating Christmas with our England-based family, and a new book in the offing.  Both the paperback and ebook of Mourning in Malmö are now out for pre-sale and will be available to read on January 3rd.  (The American paperback sometime in April)  The future is promising.  And it probably looked that way for a Hungarian man who unearthed a dramatic treasure.  The consequences were to turn out tragically different. I came across the story on our visit to Budapest in October.  We visited the National Museum of Hungary.  One of the exhibition areas had...

read more

THE MAN WHO SAVED THOUSANDS

Wherever I go there always seems to be a Swedish connection – or maybe because of my novels, I’m always subconsciously looking.  And it wasn’t difficult to find one on a very recent trip to the Hungarian capital, Budapest.  His name is immediate – there is a quay on the Danube named after him.  There’s also a street in Pest, a dedicated garden at the Great Synagogue and a memorial in Buda.  You can’t miss Raoul Wallenberg. In March 1944, the Nazis occupied Hungary after it looked like their client state was seeking peace with the advancing Russians.  They immediately started deporting huge numbers of rural Hungarian Jews to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.  The...

read more

FAREWELL TO LUGNADAL

Lugnadal in Swedish means a “calm valley”.  It’s also the name of the first Swedish house I stayed in back in 2000 on our first trip to the country.  After a storm-tossed trip by ferry from Newcastle to Gothenburg in mid-December across a belligerent North Sea, it was pitch black when we reached Lugnadal in the early hours of the morning.  It was a blessed relief after over 30 hours of weary travel by boat, train and car.  We awoke the next morning to a bright, crisp Skåne morning in what is an old farmhouse typical of the area – four connected sides around a central courtyard.  And it’s where my love affair with...

read more