Tuesday: Week Three


“She can’t have vanished into thin air,” said Larsen. He stared at the photograph of Emily on the board in the Incident Room. “She must have done something, somewhere.”

“The story was on television last night, and in the evening papers, with Emily’s photograph,” said Tobias. “And Lennart’s photograph as well. Last seen with Emily Rasmussen and so on. It was on television and in all the papers, local and national, this morning. It was on radio last night and again this morning.”

“Fifty-three people telephoned last night,” said Katrine. “Three were mediums, offering to get in touch with Emily through the spirit world.” 

Larsen rolled his eyes. 

“One caller was sure Emily was living next door to her in Ribe. West Jutland sent three squad cars at midnight and wakened a kindergarten teacher who looked a bit like the photographs but was definitely not Emily.” 

“She looks like half the women in Denmark,” said Larsen gloomily. “At least she’s not a kiddy. We’d have thousands of calls and they’d all be useless.” He waved at Katrine to continue.  

“Ten callers wanted to know if there was a reward,” said Katrine. “They didn’t have any information.”

“We haven’t the budget for a reward,” said Larsen. 

“Fifteen callers thought they’d seen Emily in the last few days. Every location was different. She was spotted in ten different places on the same day at roughly the same time. Never at an address.” Katrine glanced at her notes. “She was seen walking on the beach, in a café, in a cinema. One woman said she was with Emily at a bus stop when she vaporised in front of her eyes.”

“These appeals always bring out the nutters, the chancers and the snoopers,” said Renata. “Did any sane people call?”

“Fourteen women and two men called to tell us they’d met Emily in environmental groups at least ten years ago,” said Katrine. “They were vague about dates but they all mentioned the Skovlynd protest. Ten of the women and one of the men remembered Lennart as well. All of them thought Emily had gone to join another protest somewhere. Lapland was mentioned, but also Germany, England and Estonia. None of them had anything concrete to add to what we already know.” 

“Nicholas Hove and Gudrun Jeppessen both mentioned an activist called Aksel. Possibly Aksel Schmidt, but Gudrun isn’t sure,” said Tobias. “Did anyone called Aksel get in touch?”

 Katrine shook her head. 

“Either she’s dead, or she wanted to disappear,” said Eddy. “It’s not that difficult. You can buy a false identity online. Or she could just use cash, not buy a mobile phone in her own name. The things that trace you are mostly electronic.” 

“Any progress on the Hotmail and Facebook front, Renata?” asked Tobias.

“The request is with the US State Department. I’m still waiting for an answer.”

“Can we hurry them up?”

“Only if we suggest she has some kind of terrorist link. That gets them moving double-double quick.”

“Tempting,” said Eddy.

Larsen stared stonily at him.  

“Only joking,” said Eddy.

“Emily was arrested at the Skovlynd protest,” said Tobias. 

“September tenth, 1998,” said Eddy. “There’s no video of the interview. She was released without charge.”

“That’s a pity,” said Renata. “That might have helped with the Americans. They’re jumpy about eco-terrorists.”

“With good cause,” said Larsen. “Nutters, all of them.”

Tobias thought about Agnes. Passionate, naïve perhaps. But not a terrorist, and definitely not mad. 

“Emily’s fingerprints are on file. That’s useful,” said Eddy. “She can be identified even if she’s changed her appearance.”

“No sign of the blue van?” asked Tobias.

Eddy shook his head. “Even Khazakstan has automatic number plate recognition. But the van hasn’t been seen anywhere. It’s vaporised as well.” 

“Her mother got an email from her on the 24th September 1998, saying she was going away with Lennart,” said Tobias. “We must find out where those emails are coming from.” 

“I’ll ask Foreign Affairs if there’s anyone I can speak to directly in the State Department,” said Renata. She picked up her papers and slipped out of the room. 

“Emily made the complaint about her stepfather before she went away,” said Tobias. “There might be something useful in the file. Registry hasn’t sent it over yet.” 

“Cuts,” said Larsen gloomily. 

“Her photograph went to all Swedish police departments,” said Tobias. 

“They’re nomads aren’t they? She could be wandering with the ruddy reindeer herds,” said Eddy. “Living with Eskimos in the Arctic circle for all we know.”

“We’ll send her photograph and details to Norway and Finland as well,” said Tobias. “In case Emily has gone to a different part of Lapland.”

“Right.” Larsen stood up to indicate the meeting was over. “Send them to the rest of Europe as well.” He paused on his way out the door. “Send them to the whole bloody world while we’re about it.” The door swung shut behind him. 

“What next?” asked Katrine.

“We need to find Aksel Schmidt or whatever his name is,” said Tobias. 

“I’ve looked on the national database,” said Katrine. “The only Aksel Schmidts are all under twenty-five, which makes them too young at the time Emily disappeared. I’ve checked the list of green activists and can’t find anyone named Aksel. He seems to have vaporised as well.”

“Suppose all three of them, Emily, Lennart and Aksel were otter watching together, and there was some kind of argument,” said Eddy. “A fight over Emily. Let’s say they both fancied her. Aksel kills Lennart. He and Emily carry Lennart’s body between them.”

“Everybody said she was in love with Lennart,” said Katrine. “Why would she help his killer?”

“Maybe he killed Emily as well,” said Tobias. 

“She sends emails to her mother. She has a Facebook page,” said Katrine.

“So maybe Aksel is sending the emails,” said Eddy. “To make everyone think she’s alive.”

“All the more reason to find him,” said Tobias. “We might need those mediums after all.” 

He went back to his desk and sat for a while thinking. Was it possible Aksel had killed Emily? That he knew Emily well enough to have not only her email address but her mother’s as well? That he sent emails so her mother wouldn’t report her missing? It was probably worthwhile searching the bog again for traces of a second body. Another cost to the enquiry, but Larsen would agree it was necessary. His phone rang. It was Nicholas Hove.

“I’ve looked at the photo you biked to my office,” he said. “I think Aksel is the guy on the far left, beside Emily Rasmussen. It’s so long ago, I can’t be certain. I’ve contacted a couple of activists I know. One of them told me he sees Aksel at demos from time to time. He doesn’t know where he lives.”

“What’s Aksel’s surname? Is it Schmidt?”

“He’s not sure about that either. But he says Aksel is involved with some protest at the city hall next month. There’s a European conference on the environment on the fifth of June. I’m speaking at it. My activist friend said something is happening. He doesn’t know exactly what, but it’s about climate change and it’s intended to coincide with the conference.” He paused. His tone changed. “I always had a soft spot for Emily. Let me know how she is when you find her.” 

If we find her, thought Tobias. 

“Thanks,” he said. “I will.”

“And good luck with Aksel.” Nicholas Hove rang off. 

Tobias straightened the phone and tidied a pencil into the mug on his desk. It was a present from Agnes. A white mug with a green slogan: “Root For Trees!” A memory stirred. Agnes talking about trees. On the telephone. Was it on the night they found Bogman? Hadn’t she mentioned someone called Aksel? Tobias reached for the telephone. He hesitated. He was reluctant to involve Agnes in the investigation. He picked up the phone and called her. 

“Hi, Dad, I saw you on television last night, appealing for information about that missing girl. You looked great. Have you found her?”

“Not yet,” said Tobias. “Where are you?”

“In college,” said Agnes. “I’m between classes.” 

“So when are you back hugging trees?”

Agnes sighed. “I have an essay to write. I won’t get up there this weekend.” 

“Where exactly is ‘up there’?”

“About five kilometres inland from the coast, near Frostrup.”  

“How many of you are at the camp?”

“It varies,” said Agnes. “Sometimes as many as fifty and sometimes as few as five.” Her voice changed. Why the sudden interest, Dad? Are you trying to find out something for your colleagues? I’ve had the lecture. We’re not breaking any laws.” 

Tobias took a deep breath. “This has nothing to do with trees, Agnes. It’s about the missing girl. She’s hardly a girl,” he added. “She must be at least thirty by now. She was involved in a green protest around the time of her disappearance. And she had a friend called Aksel. He might know where she is now. He’d be about the same age. Didn’t you mention someone called Aksel?”

“There are lots of people called Aksel. How do you know he’s the right one?”

“I don’t know,” said Tobias. “But nobody called Aksel got in contact after the appeal. I thought maybe that was because he was up a tree with no television.” He hoped he sounded matter of fact, not sarcastic.

“Don’t be sarcastic, Dad. Yes, there’s someone called Aksel supporting our protest. He came to the camp a couple of weekends ago. The weekend you found the body in the bog.”

“What is Aksel’s surname?”

“I don’t know. I only know him as Aksel. He’s a nice guy.”

“Where does he live?”

“I’ve no idea, Dad.”

“Does Magnus know where he lives?”

Agnes sighed. “I don’t know. Ask him yourself. He’s up at the camp. I’ll get him to call you.”

“Can you give me his number?”

“No, Dad. I can’t do that without asking him first.”  

“This is urgent, Agnes. We need to talk to Aksel. He may be the only person who knows where Emily Rasmussen is.”

“He may not even be the right guy, Dad. I’ll tell Magnus it’s urgent. OK? Now can we talk about something else? Something more cheerful?”

“So tell me something cheerful,” said Tobias.

“I’m going to have lunch next week with the wind farm developer.” Agnes sounded pleased. “Buying me lunch won’t change my mind, but I’m glad he’s taking the protest seriously. What do you think of that?” 

Tobias thought Kurt Malling would be charmed by Agnes, would listen with every appearance of interest and would ignore what she said. 

“I think you should go and enjoy your lunch,” he said. 

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch, Dad. I know that’s what you think.”  

“You’re not nervous about it, are you?”

“They’re all relying on me to put up a good show. I wish Magnus could come with me, he’s better at explaining our objections.” 

Tobias wanted to say Kurt Malling would be instantly prejudiced against the bearded, be-studded Magnus. He bit his tongue. 

”I’m sure you’ll be fine, pumpkin,” he said. “Where are you having lunch?”

“No idea. He’s sending a car for me.” She giggled.

“Very grand,” said Tobias. “Have fun.” 

“You too, Dad. You don’t have enough fun in your life.” 

Tobias thought that might be about to change. 

When he got back to his flat, he was in the mood to listen to something joyous as well as ordered. The Six Bach Partitas, perhaps. He listened while he ironed a pale blue shirt and draped it gently over the back of a chair. He chose a brown leather jacket from a selection in his wardrobe. He didn’t want to seem too formal, but he didn’t want to be too casual either. He hadn’t gone to dinner with a woman in ages. Was this a date? Did anybody use that term anymore? When was the last time he’d done this? His relationship with Hilde had never involved food. He’d taken the librarian in Silkeborg to a fashionable restaurant on her birthday, when she’d asked him to move in with her or move on. He’d moved on. He put on the blue shirt, buttoned it, adjusted the cuffs. 

The track ended. The last notes of the piano died away. Tobias switched off the CD player. He hoped Sofie liked Bach. 

He was meeting her at a canal side restaurant not far from where she lived. As he walked there, he found himself thinking ahead to the your-place-or-mine-for-coffee conversation. He reined back his imagination. Easy now. Take it easy. Sofie could be seeing someone else.

She arrived two minutes after the waiter had shown Tobias to the table. She sank into the chair opposite him with a sigh of exhaustion.

“Hi, it’s been a long day. I got back from France this afternoon.” 

“How was the chateau?”

“More dead animals on the walls than you could shoot in a lifetime. Tiger skins on the floors. Kurt loves all that. He’s a hunter.”

Of women as well, thought Tobias. He wondered again about Malling’s relationship with Sofie.

“Was it all work and no play?” He hoped she’d been too busy for cosy dinners with Kurt Malling, or anyone else for that matter. 

“Luckily my job sometimes combines both,” said Sofie. “Kurt does a lot of business on the golf course. I get to play as well, naturally.”

“So you played golf?” Who did she play with? Malling? “With Malling?”

“Kurt got one game in. He had to fly back for a board meeting about the wind farm on the north west coast. I stayed on. I managed to play twice. Lucky me.”

“With the clients?” Tobias aligned his knife and fork with the edges of the table.  

“With two of our funders and Marcus Thomsen. He’s a keen golfer. We played a four ball.”

“We should have a game sometime,” said Tobias.

“I’d like that,” said Sofie. “A two ball. How often do you play?” 


“Or anything else,” said Sofie. 

“Not often enough,” said Tobias. “I’m out of practice.” 

He straightened the spoon so it also lay exactly parallel to the edge of the table, adjusted the salt and pepper pots, re-positioned the narrow glass vase containing a single pink rose and the lighted candle in its crystal candlestick. The movement of his hands was careful and precise. He smoothed out a small crease in the white linen tablecloth, and squared the menu card. He was conscious of Sofie’s bemused gaze.

“I spent a lot of time in a boat when I was younger,” he said, “A small boat. Everything had to be tidy.” 

“Shipshape,” said Sofie.

He looked up and smiled. “Yes. Shipshape.” 

“You’re a tidy person. You play tidy golf. You like things neat and simple.” 

“I don’t like things out of place.” 

“Is that why you’re a policeman?”

“Not really. But it’s probably why I stay a policeman.”

“So why did you join the police?”

“I had a wife and a young child and I needed a job. It was as simple as that. What about you? Why are you in PR?”

“There’s a simple answer to that as well. I was at university with my friend Hannah. She started her own business and she asked me to join her.” 

They sat in silence for a moment. Tobias decided to plunge in.

“How well did you know Emily Rasmussen?”

“What?” Sofie was startled. 

“Astrid Thomsen’s daughter, Emily Rasmussen. She was the girlfriend of the young man whose remains we found in the bog at Roligmose.” 

Sofie stared at Tobias in shock. 

“We called him Bogman,” said Tobias. “But we now know his name was Lennart Praetorius. He was murdered about fourteen years ago. Around the time Emily Rasmussen had a row with her mother and left home.”

Sofie found her voice. “I didn’t know, about Emily’s boyfriend, I mean. I only knew Emily was estranged from her mother.” 

“Were you friends with Emily?” 

“Are we having dinner or am I being questioned by the police?”

Tobias put up his hands. “Sorry, but this will save time. One more question and I’ll stop and we can enjoy our dinner.” And everything else that might follow. Easy now. “What do you know about Emily Rasmussen?”

“That’s not a question, that’s an order.” Sofie sat up. “OK. Let’s get this out of the way. I didn’t really know her. I met her for the first time when Astrid and Marcus got married. Dad and I were guests at the wedding. Emily hardly spoke to me all day.  Strange, unhappy girl.”

“Why do you say that?”

Sofie shrugged. “She was all brittle and talkative one moment, morose and silent the next. I thought she was neurotic. But as I say, I hardly knew her.”  

“You suggested to her mother that Emily might be on Facebook.”

“Did I?” Sofie thought for a moment. “Yes. I remember. It came up in conversation one evening. Not that long ago. In the last few weeks, I think. Kurt and I were having dinner with the Thomsens.” 

“Was it the night I met you? You were with the Thomsens. I was with Norbert Fisker and my stepmother.”

“It was probably that evening. Kurt and Marcus were discussing the wind farm project. I was there as PR. Astrid came because Marcus wanted to cheer her up. She’d just had an email from Emily and it had upset her.” 

“And you suggested Astrid look for Emily on Facebook?”

“I can’t remember if I suggested it first,” said Sofie. “There was a general discussion about using social media. I think it was Marcus who said maybe Astrid should look for Emily on Facebook. She said ‘I’ve heard people talking about Facebook but I don’t know anything about it and I wouldn’t know where to start’. He said he didn’t know either. So I said to Astrid, ‘I’ll help you.’ I went to see her the next day.”   

“And you found Emily’s page?”

“I sat down with Astrid and we looked through all the Emily Rasmussens on Facebook. There were at least a dozen. Only about half of them had photographs, so we could rule them out. I thought it was going to be impossible, but as soon as Astrid saw the word ‘Sapmi’ she said, ‘that’s her’. There was no photograph, no personal details. But Astrid was convinced it was Emily’s page because she lived in Lapland. Emily had been to Lapland. She told Astrid she loved it and she’d love to go back there.”

Tobias nodded in satisfaction. It all fitted.

“I feel sorry for Astrid,” said Sofie. “She’s fragile. Whatever happened between her and Emily, it’s cruel of Emily not to contact her.”

“From what you and others tell me, she didn’t want her mother to marry Marcus Thomsen.” 

“Perhaps she thought it was too soon after her father died.”

“Perhaps,” said Tobias. He paused before adding, “Do you think your father is re-marrying too soon?”

Sophie flushed. “Are we having dinner or is this another interrogation?” 

“We’re having dinner,” said Tobias. 

“Since you ask,” said Sofie, in a hard voice, “I think Dad is re-marrying far too soon. He barely knows Inge. She picked him up on a cruise.” 

“That’s hardly fair,” said Tobias. “They’re both widowed, they’re both lonely.” 

“A geriatric knocking shop,” continued Sofie. “There’s nothing else to do on a cruise but drink, play cards and …”

The waiter arrived with the menus.

“They’re not geriatrics,” said Tobias. “I’d like to think I’d still be up for it when I’m sixty-five.”

Sophie laughed. She opened the menu. The atmosphere eased. 

Tobias heard a faint buzz. He swore softly. 

“What’s up?”

“I’m being called.” He pulled the phone from his pocket. “Yes?” He listened for thirty seconds. He sighed. 

“Sorry, Sofie. I have to go. They’ve found a woman’s body at the foot of high rise flats in Gellerupparken.”

She stared at him in dismay. “Do you have to go this minute? Can’t you at least stay and eat something?”

“I need to get there before they move the body,” said Tobias. “I’m sorry. Can we do this another time?”

“Not if we never get as far as the first course,” said Sofie.


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