Friday: Week Two

North Jutland Police District


Pernille Madsen wondered why her personal life had become so dull that she was glad to come to work on Great Prayer Day, when the rest of the country was on holiday. She had a caseload that kept her busy, but not so busy that she couldn’t take a day off. She had turned down invitations from friends to spend the holiday weekend with them in Copenhagen. They were all couples with children. Pernille liked children. But she didn’t want to spend the weekend in Tivoli Gardens. Besides, she wanted to find Jolene’s attacker before it was too late. Before he went too far and killed someone.

She had identified three attacks in the last ten years in Scandinavia. All followed the same pattern. The victims were prostitutes. They were gagged with their own panties. They’d been filmed or photographed.  

She read the file on the first known attack. Versterbro in Copenhagen. A hotel near the station. The victim had four broken ribs, a broken jaw, extensive bruising in the genital area. She had been found by the hotel manager. Manager? Did places like that actually have managers? Whatever he was, pimp or room-renter, he’d been questioned and cleared. 

She opened the file on the second attack. The report was in Swedish, but she understood enough to see that the pattern was the same. The victim was a Sami working as a prostitute in Pitea, Northern Sweden. She had attempted to drown herself in the river after the attack but had been spotted by a tourist and rescued. Her injuries were similar to those of the first victim. The attacker’s routine was the same. Plastic gloves, mask, camera. 

Only a year between these first two attacks. Then a gap of seven years to the third attack. Stockholm. The perpetrator had contacted the victim online. She had gone to his hotel – one of the smartest in Stockholm. The bedside telephone in the room had been disconnected. The victim had been found, unconscious, by a hotel cleaner. No fingerprints, no DNA.

Smart bastard. But Magda is extracting your DNA from the hairs that Jolene yanked from your head. Well done, Jolene, thought Pernille. 

She decided to widen the search. She would contact Europol to find out if there’d been similar sex attacks elsewhere in Europe. That would have to wait until Monday. And it would take time. The weekend stretched ahead. She might go to Tivoli Gardens after all. 

East Jutland Police District

Tobias intended to enjoy his day off. He was in good spirits when he parked at his golf club. The manager, Christer Alsing, hurried towards him.  

“Tobias, just the man I need. Can you come to the office and give me some advice?”

“I’m meeting a guest,” said Tobias. “Can it wait until after we’ve played?” 

“Not really,” said Christer. “I’m leaving at five o’clock.”  

Tobias looked at the sky.

“No need to worry about rain,” said Christer. 

“My guest will be here soon,” said Tobias. 

“You can see the car park from the office. This won’t take long.”

Tobias reluctantly allowed himself to be ushered through the clubhouse door, into the office and into a chair in front of a computer screen showing the pond on the 14th hole at sunset. 

Christer pulled up a chair beside Tobias and clicked the mouse. “Take a look at this.” 

From the bushes near the fourteenth green, a black shape emerged. It took Tobias a second or two to realise it was a human being – man or woman he couldn’t tell – in a wet suit, wearing flippers, goggles, scuba diving equipment and carrying what looked like an empty, white net. The effect was somewhere between hilarious and sinister. The figure flapped, penguin like, towards the pond, adjusted a weight on his belt, entered the water and sank beneath the surface. The screen went black.

“The head green keeper hid in the trees,” said Christer. “Waited for hours to catch him at it. Filmed it all on his smart phone.” 

Another image swam on to the screen. The creature in black broke the surface of the water, splashed towards the bank, crawled up through the reed bed and got to his feet clutching what looked like a giant bag of slimy frogspawn. Tobias wanted to laugh.

“Golf balls,” said Christer. “He’s diving for golf balls. On private property. That’s illegal isn’t it?” 

Tobias kept his face straight. “I’ll get someone to look into it.” 

“We drain the ponds for balls every six months,” said Christer. “We sell them in the pro-shop. The number retrieved was going down. That’s how we twigged someone was stealing them. So what do you think we should do about it?”

“Put a CCTV camera there,” said Tobias. “It doesn’t even have to be a real one. That should deter the Creature from the Black Lagoon.” His mouth twitched.

“Good idea,” said Christer. “Thanks for the advice. Have a good game.”

Norbert laughed when Tobias told him about the frogman. “But it’s no joke for the club,” he said. “Skovlynd has the same problem. They’ve lost revenue. The manager told me last week they got less than half the balls they usually retrieve. He’s reluctant to put up a CCTV camera. Malling doesn’t like the idea. Too many celebrity members not wanting their duff golf shots to turn up on Youtube.”

They reached the fourteenth hole. The green was protected by trees on the right and the large pond on the left. Tobias and Norbert successfully avoided both. 

“All square,” said Norbert.

“This won’t take long.” Tobias walked off the green towards the clump of bushes from which he’d seen the frogman emerge. He squeezed through the bushes, clambered over a ditch and dropped down on to the road. He heard Norbert calling out, 

“We’re playing golf, Tobias. It’s a holiday. You’re off duty.”

Tobias crouched to examine tire marks in the grassy verge. He climbed back up the ditch and pushed his way through the bushes to the green. 

“He’s smart, our frogman,” said Tobias. “He doesn’t go near the pond on the tenth. It’s too near the clubhouse. We’re at the far end of the course here and he can get to the road easily.” 

“Same with the ninth at Skovlynd,” said Norbert. “There’s an access road used by the green keepers at the back of the lake.” 

“He drives a van of some kind,” said Tobias. “He should get his tires changed. The two left ones are bald. Not so smart.”

“A lot of people are finding life tough at the moment,” said Norbert. “I admire his enterprise. I wonder where he’s selling the balls?”

Tobias found the probable answer to that question on his way back to Aarhus after a satisfying dinner with Inge and Norbert. The light was fading from the sky when his headlights picked up a sign at the side of the road. Golf Driving Range. 8am – 10pm daily. Lessons. Shop. Big Reductions. Next Left 2 km. Out of curiosity, he took the next turn left and followed signs – Lake Balls: 5 Lessons 80 kroner: Clothing bargains – to a floodlit driving range. The floodlights went off as he turned into the car park. The glass door to the shop was locked but an interior light was still on. Tobias could see a barrel-shaped metal basket filled with golf balls by the desk. Lake Balls 5k each. 50 balls 200k. He rapped the glass but there was no reply. The shop light went out. A car door banged. An engine revved. A white van came at speed from the back of the shop. It slowed as it passed Tobias. The window went down. A voice called out, “Sorry, mate. We’re closed. Come back tomorrow.” The van raced away before Tobias could speak.  

It was raining when he got back to Aarhus and parked in the square. He left the golf clubs in the boot of the car and hurried to his flat. He switched on a light, shook the raindrops from his jacket and hung it on a coat hanger to dry. He lit the candle on the table by the window and squared the file that lay there. He selected a bottle of Monbazillac from the wine cabinet, poured himself a small glass, carried it to the table, sat down, opened the file and began to read. 

Emily Rasmussen was vital to the enquiry. People remembered her. He thought of all contradictory adjectives they’d attached to her. Gentle, honest, musical, jealous, possessive, fierce. A warrior for the environment. A young woman in love. Like Agnes.

Lennart, by contrast, was a cipher. 

The telephone rang. Tobias glanced at the number and saw it was Hilde. He closed the file, stood up and opened the door to the balcony. He could see Hilde silhouetted in the rain-streaked window opposite. He pressed the answer button on his phone.

“I was wondering if you’d like a nightcap,” Hilde said.

Tobias hesitated. “Not tonight.” And maybe not any other night, he thought. Time to move on. To Sofie? I ought to say something to Hilde.

“I wanted to tell you that Eric has got a shore job.” She hesitated. “And I’m pregnant.”

Tobias felt as though the blood was draining from his body.

“Don’t worry, Tobias,” said Hilde. “It’s not yours. We were careful. The dates don’t fit. Eric wanted a baby. Me too.”

Tobias could now see her moving about in her flat, see her hand gently rubbing her belly. 

“We’re moving to a house,” said Hilde. “With a garden. It was good while it lasted, wasn’t it? Good for both of us, I think.”

“Good luck,” said Tobias. 

“I wish you luck as well. I’m waving at you.” 

Tobias waved back. The light went out in Hilde’s flat. He stood for a moment. There was the usual Saturday night noise from the square. The wet tiles on the Cathedral roof glistened under the floodlights. Rain dripped from the lilac trees in the gardens below. He hoped Agnes wasn’t tree-hugging and getting soaked. He picked up his phone and sent her a text. “Dry & studying or wet & tree-guarding?” He closed the balcony door. A response from Agnes flashed on his phone. “Dry & partying. Love you.” 

Tobias sat down again and opened the file. He took out one of the stills copied from the news footage of the demonstrations. Emily Rasmussen being arrested. She was looking straight at the camera. A policeman gripped one of her arms. She had the other raised in a clenched fist salute. A spirited girl. An attractive girl. But also neurotic and jealous, according to her step-father. Where was she now? 


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