Mammon in Malmö, by Torquil MacLeod, part two: He was instantly gripped by​ ​a wave of reali​s​ation and fear

Prologue (cont.) 1951: Per Engdahl held his hand up to shield his eyes from the light.​ ​Sunshine in Malmö at this time of year was always welcome.​ ​To Engdahl, doubly so.​ ​This was a bright day for him, and for a​ ​broken Europe which was about to see a rebirth.​ ​A tram rattled along on the other side of Stortorget.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 7:00 am
Author Torquil MacLeod on Anita's holiday beach for the launch of the fourth book in the series, Midnight in Malmo

Soon​ ​people would arrive for the congress. His congress in his town.​ ​Not a bombed-out town like so many others that were half-emerging from the rubble of war. A vibrant town not tainted by​ ​occupation; a low-key town where his philosophy could take​ ​root and spread to create a new way of thinking in a rejuvenated​ ​world.

He knew he was a persuasive speaker ​-​ he’d even learned​ ​enough passable Italian for last year’s Rome Congress. That​ ​had gone down very well with the hosts. So had his ideas. Now​ ​he felt confident that he would have no trouble shaping the​ ​thinking of the disparate groups here in Malmö.

Representatives​ ​from Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Britain and, of​ ​course, Germany had been lined up to attend. He’d written to​ ​Sweden’s Prime Minister, Tage Erlander, asking that the guests’​ ​visas be fast-tracked, and had been personally assured that this​ ​would happen.He smiled as he thought of the friends he’d be welcoming​ -​ Augusto De Marsanich from Italy, Maurice Bardèche from​ ​France, and Germany’s Karl-Heinz Priester. His only worry​ ​was that Oswald Mosley might have a last-minute change of​ ​mind; the Englishman had issues with Priester. To add a touch​ ​of glamour to the proceedings, he’d boldly invited Colonel Otto​ ​Skorzeny, the man who had daringly rescued Mussolini from his​ ​mountain-resort imprisonment.His only regret was that he couldn’t have his kindred spirit​ ​and collaborator Johann von Leers with him. But at least he​ ​was safely ensconced in​ ​Buenos Aires, where he was doing​ ​invaluable work spreading their message.Behind him was the Kramer Hotel, the venue for the​ ​congress. He felt a tingle of anticipation course through his​ ​limbs. There was so much to​ ​discuss, to agree on, to plan. To​ ​protect their culture from contamination in the face of growing​ ​Bolshevism, there would be a united front with a common​ ​European ideology; an octopus, whose tentacles of concordance​ ​and purpose would reach and coil across the continent.​ ​And he, Per Engdahl would be the mantle; the centre of​ ​it all.

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Mammon in Malmo

2018The window rattled. He got up from his seat by the stove and​ ​pulled it tightly shut. The wind howled, and he could see from​ ​the outside light that the snow was starting to thicken in the​ ​yard. The roof of the barn had already turned white. He drew​ ​the curtain. As he sat down, it fluttered slightly.​ ​There was still​ ​a draught coming in. He would have to have a word with Rune​ ​​Tham about getting it fixed. He couldn’t afford his own place​ ​just yet.​ ​But soon.

He shoved another log into the old metal stove. It spat and​ ​crackled as he closed the door. Winter was setting in. He knew​ ​he would have to curtail his plans if the weather continued​ ​like this. He wandered into the kitchen and poured himself the​ ​dregs of the coffee from the thermos, which he​ ​drank in a​ ​couple of gulps. He promised himself something stronger for a​ ​nightcap.On the side of the wooden cupboard in the corner was a​ ​rack of pipes. He still had three. Not that he smoked much these​ ​days. He never took a pipe on his travels but on a night like this,​ ​it felt right. He took his favourite one from the rack, stepped​ ​back into the living room and opened the drawer where he kept​ ​his tobacco. He sat down and enjoyed the sensation of stuffing​ ​and tightly packing the bowl.

You hardly saw anyone with a​ ​pipe these days, except Rune. Maybe it was old-fashioned. But,​ ​he reflected, he lived for the past. He was nothing without it.​ ​And the past had suddenly given him a future. He picked up​ ​a box of matches from the stone hearth and struck one.

After​ ​several puffs, the tobacco settled down to a satisfying glow. His​ ​contentment was almost total. But he still had one obstacle to​ ​surmount ​-​ how best to exploit the ‘find’, which he’d wrapped​ ​carefully and hidden in his bedroom. He needed a way of​ ​selling it without raising suspicion. Carl said he had a contact​ ​in Germany. He knew there wouldn’t be any consequences ​-​ there was no way they would dare report it missing or even​ ​acknowledge its existence. He would just have to be careful.

He​ ​refocussed his attention on the old map and the photographs​ ​on the table. Next spring, he’d make the follow-up trip to​ ​Walchensee. The find would do a lot more than finance the​ ​next phase of the operation. If he was lucky, it would finance​ ​the next few seasons.Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted. There was a rap​ ​on the front door. He hadn’t heard a vehicle approach. Maybe​ ​the snow had deadened the sound. Who could it be at this time​ ​of night in this weather? He didn’t normally have visitors.​ ​Even the neighbours kept their distance. And he was grateful​ ​for that. He didn’t need company except of those who shared​ ​his passions. And there was only Rune round here who showed​ ​any interest. He laid his pipe down on the ashtray next to the​ ​map and went to answer the door, muttering to himself.​ ​He squinted into the gloom. Two blurred figures were being​ ​buffeted by the blizzard. It took him a few seconds to see that​ ​their faces were hidden by masks. He was instantly gripped by​ ​a wave of reali​s​ation and fear ​-​ he’d made a big mistake​.

Tomorrow: Meet Anita Sundström

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