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The Grand Man


Florence Wetzel

The Grand Man A Scandinavian Thriller


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Excerpt from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson, translation copyright © 2008 by Reg Keeland. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Excerpt from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO: BOOK ONE OF THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY by Stieg Larsson, copyright © 2005 Norstedts Agency. English translation copyright © 2008 Reg Keeland. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. All rights reserved. Stieg Larsson’s 1986 map of Olof Palme’s murder scene used with permission of TT Nyhetsbyrån (TT News Bureau) and Expo Archives. Excerpt of Karl Vennberg’s poem “Blott icke samma ensamhet” originally appeared in the book Fiskefärd (Stockholm: Bonniers, 1949). Front cover illustration: © R. Möhler. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

© 2019 Florence Wetzel Förlag: BoD – Books on Demand, Stockholm, Sverige Tryck: BoD – Books on Demand, Norderstedt, Tyskland ISBN: 978-91-7785-973-4


Dedicated to my mother, Marion Daisy Wetzel


It will be up to the wanderer in Stockholm on a dark February night to feel the faint residue of diabolical energy lingering near the plaque marking the site of the blood on the snow, and sense the memory of a heinous act that drew an awful price, as the shadowy specter disappears up the Tunnelgatan steps. Blood on the Snow: The Killing of Olof Palme by Jan Bondeson

She had discovered that the most effective method of keeping the fear at bay was to fantasize about something that gave her a feeling of strength. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson


Map of the escape route used by Olof Palme’s assassin on Friday, February 28, 1986 Drawn by Stieg Larsson (TT/Expo Archives)


Contents Prologue: Friday, February 28, 1986........................................................ 13 Saturday, February 4, 2012, 6:30 a.m....................................................... 17 36 Steps ................................................................................................................19 ScandiCrime ........................................................................................................25 This Fur Evidence..............................................................................................29 Tall Handsome Swedish Man...........................................................................33

Three Days Earlier ..................................................................................... 39 Fika .......................................................................................................................41 ScandiGeeks.com ...............................................................................................45 The Norwegian ...................................................................................................51 Stieg and Magnus................................................................................................55 Pearls of Life .......................................................................................................59 God’s Vengeance................................................................................................67 USB.......................................................................................................................71 Behind The Red Room..........................................................................................75 Trust Capital........................................................................................................77 Bunny ...................................................................................................................81 Holiday .................................................................................................................87 ScandiJazz ............................................................................................................91


Saturday, February 4, 9:00 a.m..................................................................97 The Widow..........................................................................................................99 The Feeling .......................................................................................................107 The Troll............................................................................................................111 The Partner .......................................................................................................117

Two Days Earlier..................................................................................... 121 The Plaque ........................................................................................................123 89 Steps..............................................................................................................129 Nalen..................................................................................................................133 Birgitta................................................................................................................137 People’s Home .................................................................................................143 Dinner with Fanny and Alexander................................................................149 Pernilla ...............................................................................................................153 Mystery Lump...................................................................................................159 The Raptor ........................................................................................................165

Saturday, February 4, 2:00 p.m. ............................................................. 171 Still a Princess ...................................................................................................173 Pippi Goes on a Walk......................................................................................177 36 Steps Again ..................................................................................................185 Monica ...............................................................................................................189

One Day Earlier ....................................................................................... 193 Checking............................................................................................................195 Another Vampire .............................................................................................197 The Girl Who Had a God Who Was Vengeful ..........................................203


Saturday, February 4, 11:00 p.m.............................................................207 At the Glenn Miller CafĂŠ................................................................................ 209 Miss Eyes .......................................................................................................... 215 Imaginary Friend ............................................................................................. 221

Sunday, February 5...................................................................................235 Kristiansson and Kvant Go to Morning Prayer ......................................... 237 Magnus Goes to a Coffee Party .................................................................... 251 Nisse Calling..................................................................................................... 257 Juliet Is a Thing-Finder................................................................................... 261 The Man Who.................................................................................................. 269 The Obvious .................................................................................................... 279 Here Come the Swedes with a Clang and a Bang ...................................... 281 Interview with Holiday ................................................................................... 285 Interview with Bunny ..................................................................................... 291 Princess Madeleine Weighs In....................................................................... 297

Monday, February 6 .................................................................................303 Finally ................................................................................................................ 305 The Virtues of Lingonberry Jam................................................................... 313 Shit Sandwich................................................................................................... 321 Shrimp Sandwich............................................................................................. 329

Tuesday, February 7 to Thursday, February 9 .....................................335 Dark and Cold.................................................................................................. 337

Friday, February 10 ..................................................................................343 Midnight Sun.................................................................................................... 345


Tuesday, February 14 .............................................................................. 351 Bite Back............................................................................................................353

Thursday, February 16 ............................................................................ 361 Once Upon a Time in Stockholm .................................................................363

Friday, February 17.................................................................................. 367 Another Man Who...........................................................................................369 RIP......................................................................................................................373

Monday, February 20 .............................................................................. 381 Always a Daisy-Belle........................................................................................383

Tuesday, February 21 .............................................................................. 393 The Cosmic Force............................................................................................395

Wednesday, February 22......................................................................... 401 I Do Think Freckles Are So Attractive ........................................................403 ÖMG..................................................................................................................407

Coda: Final Girl........................................................................................ 411 Tack! .......................................................................................................... 417 Selected Bibliography .............................................................................. 423


Prologue: Friday, February 28, 1986

13


E

mil Sjöö is waiting. He is standing outside the Grand cinema on Sveavägen, the long street that runs through the heart of central Stockholm. Inside the cinema, his friends Johan and Agneta are watching The Mozart Brothers. The movie started at quarter after nine, but Emil had to work late and couldn’t join them in time. He decided instead to come by at eleven o’clock when the movie ended so they could go for a drink. It was lönehelg, the weekend after the monthly paycheck, and the three of them usually celebrated by having a few beers. As Emil stands in the cold, he passes the time by watching a strange fellow who is also waiting in front of the Grand. The man is pacing the sidewalk and muttering to himself, a burning look in his eyes. A short and stocky Swedish man, perhaps in his late thirties, with steel-rimmed glasses and a dark cap with earflaps. The man was probably drunk, but Stockholm was always full of drunk people during lönehelg. The doors to the cinema open, and soon people start trickling out. Johan and Agneta are among the first to appear, and Emil calls out to them. They exchange greetings, then turn left and walk toward Odengatan, where they will have their pick of bars. As they walk, Emil asks if they liked the movie. Johan says it was sådär, so-so. Agneta agrees with Johan, then says, “Guess who was sitting behind us? The prime minister! Palme! He was with his wife and one of their sons.” “Did you talk to him?” Emil asks. “Of course not. We let him be.” A half hour later, sitting by the front window of a bar on Odengatan, they see a police car rush past. Then another. And another after that. Fifteen minutes later, a man bursts into the bar and shouts out the unthinkable news that the prime minister has been shot and killed, right down the street on Sveavägen. A terrible chill shakes through Emil. Johan turns pale as a corpse. Agneta bursts into tears. ***

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The next evening, the three of them are together again. This time, they are sitting in police headquarters in Kungsholmen. Witnesses have been asked to come forth, including anyone who saw Palme the previous night, or anything else that might be relevant to the murder. Johan and Agneta tell the police about seeing Palme in the theater. Emil tells them about the odd man waiting outside the Grand. Waiting, perhaps, for the prime minister. Several other witnesses report seeing the strange man. No one knows his name, so the police give him a nickname. They call him Grandmannen. The Grand Man.

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