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The Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, a major figure in world politics and an ardent opponent of apartheid, was shot dead on the streets of Stockholm in February 1986. At the time of his death, Palme was deeply involved in Middle East diplomacy and was working under UN auspices to end the Iran-Iraq war. Across Scandinavia, Palme's killing had an impact similar to that of the Kennedy assassinations in the United States—and it ignited nearly as many conspiracy theories. Interest in the Palme slaying was most recently stirred by reports of the death of Christer Pettersson, who was tried for the murder twice, convicted the first time, and then acquitted on appeal.

In his investigative account of Palme's still-unsolved murder, the historian Jan Bondeson meticulously recreates the assassination and its aftermath. Like the best works of crime fiction, this book puts the victim and his death into social context. Bondeson's work, however, is noteworthy for its dispassionate treatment of police incompetence: the police did not answer a witness's phone call reporting the murder just 45 seconds after it occurred, and further time was lost as the police sought to confirm that someone had actually been shot. When the police arrived on the scene, they did not even recognize the victim as the Prime Minister. This early confusion was emblematic of the errors that were to follow.

Bondeson demolishes the various conspiracy theories that have been devised to make sense of the killing, before suggesting a convincing explanation of his own. A brilliant piece of investigative journalism, Blood on the Snow includes crime-scene photographs and reconstructions that have never before been published and offers a gripping narrative of a crime that shocked a continent.

WHEN JACK THE RIPPER first prowled the streets of London, an evening newspaper commented that his crimes were as ghastly as those committed by Eliza Grimwood’s murderer fifty years earlier. Hers is arguably the most infamous and brutal of all nineteenth-century London killings. Eliza was a high-class prostitute, and on 26 May 1838, following an evening at the theatre, she brought a ‘client’ back to her home in Waterloo Road. The morning after, she was found with her throat cut and her abdomen viciously ‘ripped’. The client was nowhere to be seen.The ensuing murder investigation was convoluted, with suspects ranging from an alcoholic bricklayer to a royal duke. Londoners from all walks of life followed the story with a horror and fascination – among them Charles Dickens, who took inspiration from Eliza’s death when he wrote the murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist. Despite this feverish interest, the case was left unsolved, becoming the subject of ‘penny dreadfuls’ and urban legend.Unusually for a crime of this early period, the diary of the police officer leading the investigation has been preserved for posterity, and Jan Bondeson takes full advantage of this unique access to a Victorian murder inquiry. Skilfully dissecting what evidence remains, he links this murder with a series of other opportunist early Victorian slayings, and, in putting forward a credible new suspect, concludes that the Ripper of Waterloo Road was, in fact, a serial killer claiming as many as four victims.
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