Stieg Larsson May Have Helped Solve Murder of a Swedish Prime Minister

Before he wrote "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," the author spent years investigating the assassination

Swedish writer and journalist Stieg Larsson on visit in Paris. (Photo by Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Swedish writer and journalist Stieg Larsson on visit in Paris. (Photo by Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / September 30, 2019 9:55 am

Long before he penned The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, author Stieg Larsson spent years researching the 1986 real-life murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, and though he died of a heart attack in 2004, his archives may have provided new clues into the decades-old crime.

Jan Stocklossa was researching a book on crimes scenes eight years ago when he requested to see Larsson’s archives related to the Palme assassination. “When this sheet metal door rolled up, and I saw these 20 boxes full of papers, full of Stieg’s documents, that was the start of a journey,” he told CBS. “That day, I realized he had a real theory in who killed our prime minister.”

That theory involves a global conspiracy of mega-bestselling proportions. “Stieg Larsson thought that it was South Africa that instigated the murder, and for reasons connected to the weapons trade all over the world that was going on at the time, connected to the Iran-Contra affair,” Stocklassa explained. “That was the motive behind it. There was a war going on, the end of the Cold War, and one of the places where they were carrying out the war was South Africa.”

Stocklassa decided to continue Larsson’s investigation (a journey he writes about in his new book, The Man Who Played With Fire: Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin), which led him to Craig Williamson, an intelligence spy for South Africa’s apartheid government. Palme was a fierce critic of apartheid, and while Williamson denies involvement with the murder, he provided Stocklassa with evidence that the author believes points to another suspect, Jakob Thedelin.

“Towards the end, I realized that there may actually be the case that Jakob Thedelin has the revolver that killed our prime minister,” Stocklassa said. He turned over the book — which is being published in 50 countries in 27 languages — to Swedish police, who are investigating its claims, telling them, “Here you have the manual to solve the killing.”

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