Saturday: Week Two


Nicholas Hove got up from behind the desk in his office overlooking the harbour in Aarhus, shook hands with Tobias and said genially, “I haven’t been interviewed by the police since my old days as an activist. Take a seat, Chief Inspector. I see you have to work on holiday weekends too. No rest for the wicked. What can I do for you?”

“It’s about your days as an environmental activist,” said Tobias. “Specifically, about a protest at Skovlynd in the late nineties.”

“I remember,” said Nicholas Hove. “The golf course versus Bechstein’s Bat. The golf course won. Not surprising, given the amount of money Kurt Malling was willing to throw around.” 

Tobias raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t mean money in brown envelopes,” said Nicholas Hove smoothly. “Malling was a big donor to the library and the museum,” he paused, “as well as the conservative party, of course. You know he’s standing in the election?”

Tobias nodded. 

“Is someone suggesting there were kickbacks?” said Hove. “Is that what this is about? It’s a bit late in the day, is it not?”

“This is about a murder enquiry,” said Tobias. 

Hove looked surprised, but not perturbed. “Who’s been murdered? Is it someone I know?” 

“We found human remains in a bog at Roligmose,” said Tobias.

“I read about that,” said Nicholas. “Why do you want to speak to me?” 

“We have reason to believe they are the remains of someone who was part of a protest against building the golf course at Skovlynd. Do you remember Emily Rasmussen?” 

Hove looked shocked. “The reports said the remains were of a male.”

“That’s correct,” said Tobias. “We haven’t identified him yet. But we know his girlfriend at that time was Emily Rasmussen and she was part of the Skovlynd protest. We haven’t been able to contact her. Can you help?” 

 “I remember Emily Rasmussen,” said Hove. “I didn’t know her well.” 

“Her boyfriend was called Lennart.” 

Hove closed his eyes in concentration, opened them and shook his head. “Sorry. I don’t remember Emily with a boyfriend. There was a guy called Lennart who used to turn up at demos, but I don’t remember much about him.” He grinned. “I mostly noticed the girls.”

Tobias took an envelope from his briefcase and shook three photographs on to the desk. He turned them to face Hove and straightened each one of them. 

“Can you name the people in these photographs,” he said. 

Hove picked up each photograph in turn and studied it.

“I recognise my younger self, of course. But I have to think about the others. People came and went. Even Aksel.”

“Who’s Aksel?”

“He’d been on protests all over. He was a kind of green anarchist. He was the most committed of all of us.”

“Is he in any of these photographs?”

Hove shook his head. “Aksel was good at avoiding being photographed. And avoiding arrest.”

“What’s his surname? Do you know where he is now?”

“I don’t think I even knew it. I have no idea where he is now. Everything petered out after the arrests. We knew we’d lost. People drifted away.”

He picked up the first photograph again. “The girls chained to the Hydrema are Emily Rasmussen and Gudrun Jeppesen,” he grinned, “I had a bit of thing with Gudrun.” 

“Is Emily’s former boyfriend in any of these photos?”

“Former boyfriend? Did Emily and he split up?”

“We assume so,” said Tobias. “She didn’t report him missing.”

“They must have broken up,” said Hove. “Do you know when he died?”

“About fourteen or fifteen years ago. We think no later than 1999. Probably just after the Skovlynd protest. Look again at the photos. Is he in any of them?”

“I don’t recognise him if he is. As I said, I don’t remember much about him.” 

“Are you still in touch with Gudrun Jeppesen?”

“We haven’t spoken in a long time,” said Nicholas. His grin was sheepish now. “I married a friend of Gudrun’s. It was all a bit sticky.”

“I’d like to talk to her,” said Tobias. “Have you any idea where we might find her?”

 Hove was silent for a moment. “I have no idea where she is now. At the time, she was sharing a house near the university.” He paused. “I have an idea she went to live on an island.”

“Keep the photographs,” said Tobias. “Let me know if you remember anything else.” He put his card on the desk. 

Hove’s secretary put her head around the door. “Kurt Malling has arrived,” she said. 

Tobias didn’t hide his surprise.

“Politics makes strange bedfellows,” said Nicholas Hove smoothly. “Malling wants my support for a wind farm project that’s running into opposition.” He laughed. “Bechstein’s Bat strikes again.” He stood up. “I hope I’ve been some help.” 

He escorted Tobias to the door. “If you get in touch with Gudrun, give her my regards.”

Tobias found a Gudrun Jeppeson Holm in the white pages of the national telephone directory. She lived on the island of Aero. Was she even the right person? Was she at home?

Yes, she was the Gudrun Jeppeson whom Nicholas Hove had mentioned. Yes, she was at home. He could visit her. 

Tobias made a quick calculation. It was nearly four hours to the ferry. Add another hour and a quarter for the crossing. Was it worth it? He could talk to her on the telephone. But that was never as good as interviewing someone in person. Assessing them. 

“I’ll be with you by five o’clock this afternoon,” he said. 


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