Saturday: Week Three


“You disturbed the judge on his safari holiday, and now you want to disturb the peace and quiet of his weekend by putting a frogman in his lily pond?” Larsen put his head in his hands. He looked up again. “This is just a theory, isn’t it? You don’t even know if the pond is below the window of Thomsen’s study. In fact you don’t even know if his study was on that side of the house.” 

“It all fits, Sir.”

“It all fitted Eric Bak too.”

“Thomsen was in the same places at the same time. He could have sent the emails. He obviously knew his wife’s email address. I am convinced he had two laptops. One for everyday use. One for viewing the pictures he took himself, and possibly even sold on.”

Larsen sighed. “It’s plausible.”

“My theory is that Emily Rasmussen guessed he’d thrown the laptop into the pond,” said Tobias. “She went back in the ambulance to look for it. Thomsen saw her and murdered her.” 

But not before he subjected her to the same kind of treatment he gave the other women. An unwelcome image swam into his head. Emily Rasmussen, gagged, bound, beaten. 

“Thomsen knew concrete was being poured into the lake at Skovlynd,” said Tobias. “I think he drove there in the ambulance and buried Emily’s body in a shallow grave. He knew that Lennart would come looking for her. That Lennart knew Emily had gone to look for the laptop. So he drove to Roligmose and killed Lennart as well. Then he drove back to his house.”

“So where’s the ambulance?”

“I don’t know, Sir. He must have got rid of it somewhere.”

Larsen sighed. “Ok. Take whatever and whoever you need. I’ll call Judge Hendriksen.”

Tobias drove to Skandeborg. Karl Lund and his team and two divers from the Frogman corps followed him to Judge Hendriksen’s house. 

Arne Hendrickson was pacing his front lawn when Tobias arrived.

“We’ve got guests,” he said. “You’ll have to come back later.”

His wife hurried out of the house. “Arne,” she cried. “Don’t send them away. Our guests will love the excitement of it all. It will be the talk of Skandeborg. They’ll be dining out on it for weeks. You won’t disturb us at all, will you Chief Inspector? We’ll watch from the dining room window.” She took her husband’s arm. He allowed her to steer him back into the house. 

The pond was surprisingly deep. One diver supervised as the other plunged and rose four times, emerging with, variously, a warped bicycle wheel, an empty paint tin, a broken baseball bat and finally and triumphantly, a mud and slime covered laptop. 

Gasps escaped through the dining room window. Tobias was uncomfortably aware of an audience as he and Karl Lund crouched to look at the laptop. Karl Lund wiped the surface with a gloved hand. 

“Gateway Solo 9100. It’s the same make,” he said. 

“He must have bought two of them at the same time,” said Tobias. “Can we get any data off this do you think?”

“Not a chance,” said Karl. “Not if he chucked it in here in 1998.”

“It’s evidence all the same,” said Tobias. Enough evidence to make an arrest. 

“It proves there was a second laptop.” Tobias stood up. “The ambulance must be in this area. Thomsen must have driven it back here. It’s the only way he could get back to his house from Roligmose after he killed Lennart.” 

“There’s a lot of forest around here,” said Karl. “And a lot of water. Plenty of places to hide an ambulance. I’ll need more men if we’re going to search the area.”

Tobias called Eddy. 

“We’ve found the laptop. Get over to Thomsen’s house. Don’t make the arrest unless you see him leaving the house. We’re going to look for the ambulance. I want to have everything in place when we bring him in.” After that, the thumbprint and DNA would seal the bastard’s fate, he was sure of it. 

He looked around. The driveway ran from the front gate to the house with lawn on either side. It widened in front of the house before curving around the far side. He walked to the open dining room window and spoke to the judge’s wife who was standing with two equally transfixed guests. He recognised one of them as the Hendriksen’s neighbour, Mrs Jacobson, her face lit with excitement. 

“Is it possible to drive down to the lake from the house?” he asked.

Mrs Hendriksen shook her head. 

“You used to be able to drive down,” piped Mrs Jacobsen. “When the Rasmussens lived here we used to drive down to the lake so that Emily and her friends could water-ski from the jetty. But that stopped after Marcus married Astrid. He complained the teenagers were driving down on scooters and making a racket, even after Emily left. He planted leylandii to stop them.”

“Can we walk down to the jetty?”

“There’s a footpath at the back of the house,” said Mrs Hendriksen. 


An audience of half a dozen, not counting police and forensics officers but including the Hendriksens and Mrs Jacobsen on her walking frame, watched the diver lower himself with rope and hooks into the dark waters of the lake. Watched him surface ten metres from the edge of the jetty. Heard him shout, “there’s a vehicle on the lake bed.” 

After that, it was a matter for police launch and hydraulic equipment. 

At three o’clock in the afternoon, the ambulance, brown water spilling from it, rose out of the lake and was deposited on the jetty. The bodywork was rusted and crumbling but the rubber tyres were intact. 

Waves of relief and exhilaration washed over Tobias. 

Eddy and Katrine were parked outside the Thomsen’s house when he phoned to tell them the laptop and ambulance had been found. Eddy reached over and hugged Katrine. “The bastard’s nailed,” he said. 

Astrid Thomsen answered the door to them. “Have you news for me? Have you the DNA result?”

“We will have news for you very shortly,” said Katrine gently. “First, we need to speak to your husband.”

“He’s at the airport,” said Astrid. “He’s flying to Paris.”

Eddy could barely conceal his astonishment. They’d been watching the house since midday. “When did he leave for the airport?”

“He left early this morning. He had some business in town. His flight isn’t until five o’clock. You can give him a call if you like. He probably hasn’t boarded yet.”

Eddy pulled out his phone. 

Katrine said, “I think we should sit down and have a talk, Mrs Thomsen. I need to explain some things to you. And I have something for you.” She had Emily’s locket and ring in her bag. She hoped they would bring some comfort. She shepherded Astrid Thomsen back inside.

Eddy was already speaking to Tobias. “Thomsen left the house this morning. He’s at the airport. He’s on a commercial flight to Paris, according to his wife.”

Tobias was on the motorway south of Aarhus. The airport was a further half hour away. “Call the airlines. He must be going via Copenhagen. Find out which flight he’s on.” He stepped hard on the accelerator. 

He ran into the terminal building holding the phone to his ear, listening to instructions from Eddy. 

“He’s booked through to Rio de Janeiro. His Copenhagen flight is leaving from Gate 5. They’re boarding now. I’m trying to get hold of the airport director to ground the flight.”

Tobias ran through security waving his badge. He ran to the departure gate. It had closed. He ran past a startled stewardess, bounded down a staircase and burst through double doors on to the runway. The whine of the jet engines deafened him. The steps were still at the plane. Thirty metres to go. He overtook Eddy, bent double, holding his side. Twenty metres. He thought his heart would burst. The marshallers were signalling. Ten metres. The engines roared. Tobias leapt on to the steps, clawed his way to the top, hammered on the aircraft door. Vehicles screeched across the tarmac. At least one was a police car. Katrine jumped out. The engines died. Tobias hung, exhausted, on the rail of the steps. The door of the plane opened as Katrine reached him. They walked together into the plane and arrested Marcus Thomson for the murders of Lennart Praetorius, Emily Rasmussen, Girlie Sanchez and Ludmila Akulova. Katrine thought it was the proudest, most satisfying moment of her life.

Tobias left Eddy and Katrine to take Marcus Thomsen to headquarters. He would interview him in the morning. For now, he was exhausted. He was going home. 

The light was on when he let himself into his apartment. Agnes was sitting at the table typing on her laptop. Books were strewn over the table. She looked up. “Dad?”

“Hi, Pumpkin. I thought you were in Copenhagen.” He resisted the urge to gather up the books and arrange them in structured piles.

She shrugged. “I have all my stuff for my essay. I decided to stay.” She paused. “I saw the news on television. You’ve arrested someone for the murder of the boy in the bog, and his girlfriend.” She hesitated. “Was it Aksel?”

Tobias shook his head. “No. It was Emily Rasmussen’s step-father.”

“I’m glad it wasn’t Aksel. I’d hate to think I’d been friendly with a murderer. Maybe he’s the informer. Is he? I know you won’t say. They all still think it’s me. It’s not the same anymore. The suspicion. The talking behind my back.” Tobias saw that she was close to tears. “I’m sorry, Dad. I feel all we’ve done, tried to do, has been turned into a hideous joke. And I’ve managed to fall out with you and Mum as well.” 

Tobias took her in his arms and hugged her.

“You can’t stop your parents loving you, Agnes.”

He thought about Astrid Thomsen and Emily. About how Thomsen had compounded his terrible crimes by estranging mother and daughter. Astrid would probably never forgive herself. He hugged Emily closer.

“What about a duet, Pumpkin?”

“You choose this time, Dad.” 

Tobias glanced at the books on the table. There would be time enough to tidy them away later. Life was too short to waste moments like this. He wondered if Emily would be buried with Lennart. Together forever.

He opened the piano stool. “What about the Schubert Fantasy in F minor?”

Haunting, dark, questioning, and quiet at the end.


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