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The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson's Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin

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3.57  ·  Rating details ·  5,103 ratings  ·  512 reviews
The author of the Millennium novels laid out the clues. Now a journalist is following them.

When Stieg Larsson died, the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had been working on a true mystery that out-twisted his Millennium novels: the assassination on February 28, 1986, of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister. It was the first time in history that a head of state h
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Kindle Edition, 495 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Amazon Crossing (first published November 2nd 2018)
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Maria Rose I am not an investigative reporter but the research methods used are quite accurate methods used pre-internet years, when one would have read actual p…moreI am not an investigative reporter but the research methods used are quite accurate methods used pre-internet years, when one would have read actual print information (books, newspapers, etc). Plus interviews were done in person or partially verbally over the landline phone. There's no fiction described in the book in those methods. That's a very old-school method that really works even today with internet use as some things can't be digitized. (less)
Derek Osbourne Depends on how you define left and right. Certainly the villains in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are". After that they are mainly just criminals. …moreDepends on how you define left and right. Certainly the villains in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are". After that they are mainly just criminals. Certainly the Swedish secret service are probably right. How you define Lisbeth's father depends really on whether you believe that the Soviets were actually left or whether by the time you reach the end of their days many of them could be on either the right or left of the spectrum. Putin, for example, was head of the KGB but there is nothing particularly left or Communist about his government. I would say most - after the first book - are indefinable. (less)

Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
”Stieg Larsson’s three books—known as the Millennium Trilogy or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series—have sold more than eighty million copies, but his greatest achievement wasn’t writing thrillers. He devoted his entire adult life to fighting right-wing extremism.”

There was a lot of speculation after Stieg Larsson died at the tender age of 50 that one of the numerous right-wing groups he had been investigating had murdered him. Maybe even the very people who assassinated Swedish Prime Ministe
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Barbara
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars

This work of creative non-fiction by Jan Stocklassa offers a comprehensive overview of the murder of Olof Palme.


Author Jan Stocklassa


Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme

*****

On February 28, 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated on the corner of Sveavägen and Tunnelgaten in Stockholm.


Corner of Sveavägen and Tunnelgaten in Stockholm

After dismissing his security guards for the evening, Palme and his wife Lisbeth went to the movies, then decided to walk home.


Olof Palme and
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Matt
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this unique book—mixing true crime, political assassination, espionage, and journal entries—Jan Stocklassa recounts events surrounding one of Sweden’s most baffling cold cases. On the evening of February 28th, 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was out with his wife, when he was shot in the back and died. The assailant fled the scene and police were forced to cobble together eyewitness accounts, though they remained quite flimsy. Struggling journalist Stieg Larsson took up the case when ...more
Ankit Garg
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Man Who Played with Fire by Jan Stocklassa is a true crime book which gives us comprehensive details about the assassination of the then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986.

It is very strange and uncommon that the murder of a head of state remains unsolved for decades. After getting interested in the case, the author sets about trying to solve it. During his research, he comes across the research done by journalist-turned-author of the Millenium series of novels, Stieg Larsson, when he
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Nina
Sep 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Good heavens, this was boring! Boring, boring, boring. The premise sounded good. The author combined his research with years of research left behind by the famous novelist Stieg Larsson in regards to the unsolved assassination of the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme in 1986. The investigation was hopelessly botched by the police. The author provides too much tedious detail, which shows all his and Larsson's intense efforts, but you know what? It's still unsolved, so the book is rather pointless ...more
Louise
Jan Stocklassa consulted Eva Gabrielsson, Steig Larrson’s long time companion, on a research project relating to architecture/geography and crime. What she had to say took his research in a totally different direction that consumed him for the next 7 years.

Well known for his fictional trilogy, Larrson’s life work was in countering right wing and Nazi extremism. He investigated, researched and wrote for his own publications and others. The intersection of Stocklassa’s interests and Larsson’s was
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Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)
This is a tremendous true crime novel, based on the meticulous and detailed research made by the author, who had access to Stieg Larsson's archive from his years as publisher of the infamous "Expo" magazine. We all know Stieg Larsson as the man who was behind the publishing phenomenon of the "Millenium" trilogy, but only a few are aware of his work as a journalist which was dedicated to unmasking the extreme right in Sweden that gradually gained power from the beginning of the 1980s. Larsson beg ...more
Armand Rosamilia
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Before starting this book, I'd never known anything about an assassination in Sweden or the personal life of Stieg Larsson. I'd never even read his fiction books.

The author, Jan Stocklassa, makes an exhaustive and interesting case for who not only who the assassin was, but all the moving parts that went into getting there and having it still unresolved.
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Greg
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
The description starts hard-boiled as true-crime can get with tantalizing lost research of author/journalist Stieg Larsson on the ultimate cold-case the assassination Prime Minister Olof Palme February 28, 1986. That's one hell of a pitch, and I couldn't resist taking a crack at it. The reality is, Jan Stocklassa's globe-trotting, multi-lingual adventure has less to with Steig than catching the bug of citizen investigation in the vein of Michelle McNamara, with roughly the same results: not much ...more
Laura Noggle
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Drags on a bit, but still reads *almost* like fiction.

Not as much Stieg Larsson as I wanted, more of a continuation into his research on the assassination of the Swedish prime minister in the 80s.

”What you are holding in your hands is a work of creative nonfiction. It is written like a thriller, but it’s factual.”
Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a tremendous true crime novel, based on the meticulous and detailed research made by the author, who had access to Stieg Larsson's archive from his years as publisher of the infamous "Expo" magazine. We all know Stieg Larsson as the man who was behind the publishing phenomenon of the "Millenium" trilogy, but only a few are aware of his work as a journalist which was dedicated to unmasking the extreme right in Sweden that gradually gained power from the beginning of the 1980s. Larsson beg ...more
Patricia Bowen
Sep 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was not what I expected. I got through the first fifty or so pages and it didn't draw me in. I knew it would be about Larsson, but it was billed as a thriller so I thought it would be written like one. Maybe the backstory and press accounts would have been more interesting interspersed with the story, instead of all up front where I had to plow through it without knowing how it would fit in. Perhaps it got better after another fifty pages, but if I wanted to read a documentary I would ...more
John Bastin
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was interesting for a while, but it got old long before I got to the end.

Count this one as a DNF.
Scott Wilson
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
The author is investigating the the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986. He uses Stieg Larsons research into the murder as a stepping off point. Larsson who is known to readers as the author of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, was actually a respected political reporter before his death. Larsson had spent quite a bit of time trying to solve the unsolved murder and left behind a treasure trove of notes and letters on the subject. Stocklassa takes this information and builds ...more
Monique
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this was an eye-opener! I knew a little about the late Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme and his murder, but I didn't know that novelist Stieg Larsson had taken such a keen interest in the case. Jan Stocklassa, using his own research and tons of material Stieg Larsson had accumulated throughout the years, wrote a book that left me in stunned disbelief! Oh my goodness, the story of Olof Palme's unresolved murder is the stuff bestselling thrillers are made of!

THE MAN WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE rela
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Jennie Louwes
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was choppy and yet congruent. It was quick paced and so packed full of information it verged on overwhelm. To keep the "players" straight you'd almost need to create your own wall map of interconnectedness with pictures, string, and thumbtacks! Of course, it's these very things that lead me to give "The Man Who Played With Fire" 4 stars.

I might very well be in the minority; but, I didn't fully realize who Steig Larsson was until I read this book. I have yet to read his Millinnium Trio
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Owlseyes




I read a few books by Stieg Larsson. I recall one of them mentioning the Olof Palme mystery. But "many Portuguese names" connected with the murder, is completely new to me. The author came to Portugal, last 15th of June.

https://www.dn.pt/edicao-do-dia/15-ju...
--

UPDATE



Last Friday [13th September] edition of Ípsilon had an interesting article about the book of Stocklassa. A Portuguese writer called José Direitinho had recently an interview with Stocklassa, in Oslo. Most important,
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Rick Harsch
Read it if for some reason you feel you have to. Given that my current novel, an anthological maxi novel, padded by the contributions of an expected 75 to 100 contributors, is called The Assassination of Olof Palme, a People's Novel, I had to. It provided nothing convincingly new, but served to refresh my memory of certain details. The guy who wrote it tends toward shabby logic, the drama promised is second-rate, better left unpromised, the entire Stieg Larsson connection overplayed and underwhe ...more
Michelle Only Wants to Read
I found this book informative and interesting.
I learned more about Stieg Larsson, a favorite. It’s a shame he died so young. One can only wonder how much better at research he would’ve been with the current technology available. And, how the lack of technology at that time (not cameras in every corner, smart phones, etc) has helped to keep this assassination a mystery.

It was a slow read for me. I took my time with it. Second half was more engaging than the first, for sure.
Martha
I loved this book. So fascinating.
Javier
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
When Olof Palme, the Swedish Primer Minister, was assassinated on February 28, 1986, while going back home after being at the movies, Stieg Larsson, who would become world wide known years later with the “Millenium” trilogy, worked as a graphic designer and journalist for a news agency. One of his passions was investigating the extreme right groups that were growing up in Sweden, publishing a couple of books on the subject. After the death of Olof Palme he carried out a parallel investigation to ...more
Chitra Ahanthem
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am a sucker for reading up unsolved cases especially when it involves the assassination of political leaders. So there was no way that I would let this one pass: not when it involved an unsolved assassination case and certainly not when it involved an association to Steig Larsson!
Famous the world over for his Millennium Trilogy books, Steig Larsson was not only an ace journalist but someone who actively investigated into the rise of the far right extremism in Sweden. What many do not know is t
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Dee
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a much more engrossing read than I thought it would be. Be prepared for a grisly look into the right-wing extremist scene in Sweden - there are people interviewed in this book whom we wish only lived in movies and thriller novels.
Ken Fredette
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I knew it, I read the whole book and only came away with a best case scenario. It was a hard read at first because of all the names but this cleared up when it got to maybe 15 or so. It took him 8 years but it took me two weeks on and off, to read. But I read other books in the mean time. I couldn't get myself motivated in reading it. ...more
James Lewis
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Fascinating theory, not clearly presented

This book was written for European audiences, particularly those in Scandinavia, and may be difficult for Americans to follow. My interest is that I lived in snd reported from Sweden the year Olof Palme become Prime Minister, interviewed both him and his predecessor, Tage Erlander, on the day they transferred power, and have followed Swedish politics ever since. I was shocked the day Palme was assassinated. Such things didn’t happen in Sweden. And I was p
...more
Ujjwala Singhania
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-version
A Swedish Prime Minister got assassinated on a February night of 1986 in a almost deserted street while walking home with his wife. The murder remains unsolved for decades. Many books written on it and many conspiracy theories doing the rounds.
One may ask but why a person would like to read about it in India in the year 2020. The answer lies in the many theories involving the dark and strong tentacles of an apartheid regime in South Africa, European arms dealers, people dying "accidentally" and
...more
Theresa
May 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Wavered between 2 and 3 stars. It was hard to get into this book, perhaps because I read a translation and didn’t know much about the assassination - or about any of the theories connected to it. But as much as it was explained, I still found a lot of the intricacies confusing. However, I really enjoyed learning more about Steig Larsson’s research. I especially liked reading about him and his focus on uncovering extremism...I found myself thinking there seemed to be a lot of parallels to his wor ...more
Kamlesh Gandhi
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant one word
Chris Birdy
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tedious!
Judy
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
An exhaustive - and exhausting - trip through the files Stieg Larsson collected on right wing groups, some of whom may have been responsible for the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme in 1986. But 33+ years later the crime has not been solved. Though I can't claim to have given all this my full attention - did a lot of flipping pages - it is a truly-mind-boggling collection of information that travels from South African apartheid to Iran Contra. There is a composite photo of a su ...more
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