THE SAGA OF THE NEXT BOOK

It has taken some time, but Chief Inspector Anita Sundström’s next outing is under way.  There have been various distractions since we moved house and area over the last year, which have hampered the progress of the next book.  It doesn’t help that I’m easily distracted.  However, Anita is back in action, and the seeds of the story begin in Viking times. With my own Norse background, I’ve always been fascinated by the Vikings.  In Britain we think of them as the Norwegians and Danes who raided our shores before deciding it was a rather good place to stay.  Among them were my MacLeod ancestors, who eventually settled on the Isle of Skye via...

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ON THE MOVE

At the end of last year, we moved out of Cumbria after twenty happy years; though we are not far over the border, and I still get my Sunday newspaper in the county.  The move came with all the usual complications and stresses – but it was of our own choosing.  There are British people outside the UK who have had to move without the luxury of a choice.  Brexit has produced some surprising results.  In data published by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, 2,250 UK citizens were ordered to leave EU countries between 2020 and September 2022.  What came as a huge surprise was that nearly half that number came from Sweden.  While...

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MOVE OVER MACBETH!

That was the reaction of one member of the audience at the production of Bothwell, Prisoner of Malmö.   She’d just witnessed my son Fraser James MacLeod’s performance in the play that debuted in Ystad and Malmö in August.  She was reacting to the tale of James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who was Mary, Queen of Scots’ third husband.  He was incarcerated for five years in Malmöhus, the city’s castle.  (In 1569, when the play is set, Malmö was under Danish rule, only becoming part of Sweden after the 1658 Treaty of Roskilde.)  Bothwell’s is a complicated story that began in his native Scotland, where he rose to be an important lord and supporter of...

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ANOTHER STRANGE YEAR

It’s been another strange year, hasn’t it? But it hasn’t been without interest. One highlight in Sweden has been the long-overdue appointment of a woman prime minister. Magdalena Andersson initially lasted one day (the budget was defeated in parliament). But now she’s back. Hopefully, this time she’ll last a while longer. The way Covid has been handled in the UK and Sweden continues to differ. We witnessed at first hand what it was like in Sweden in the autumn, when we made our first trip over there in two years. Despite certain difficulties, it was a great feeling crossing the Öresund Bridge and reaching Swedish soil. It really did feel like going home. And...

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