Sunday: Week Two


Tobias drove Agnes to the station after breakfast. “Concentrate on your exams. Leave all the protest stuff for a while.” He hugged her. 

Agnes adjusted the rucksack on her shoulders. It was covered in badges and stickers. “I’ll be OK in the exams, Dad. Don’t worry.”

“I worry. It’s what fathers do.” 

A man with reddish blond curls and a guitar case strapped to his back was walking towards the station. He stopped and stared at Agnes. Tobias recognised him as a Swedish musician who’d approached Katrine outside the bar on Friday evening and asked for a date. She had been more amused than bothered by his extravagant compliments and had gently shaken him off. Now he was walking towards Agnes with the same furrowed intensity. What was it with Agnes and all these alternative types who looked as though they hadn’t washed in a week? At least this one didn’t have studs. Not anywhere visible anyway. Tobias planted himself like a guard in front of his daughter. 

The man with the guitar addressed Tobias in English. “Good morning. I think you were with the fuckable policewoman on Friday night?”

“Police officer,” Tobias corrected. “You are referring to Detective Skaarup.”

“Detective Skaaruup, yes. The badges on the rucksack reminded me. My name is Dusty Svenson. She asked me about this.” He pulled a crumpled photo from the back pocket of his jeans and handed it to Tobias. “This image. “I remembered where I saw it.”  

Behind him, Agnes said, “I don’t want to miss my train, Dad.”

Tobias put his hand on Dusty’s arm. “Wait a moment.” He hugged Agnes. He watched her until she disappeared through the portico. 

Dusty stared after her. “Another fuckable woman.”  

“She’s my daughter,” Tobias said curtly.

Dusty put his hands up. “Sorry.”  

“So you’ve recognised the badge,” said Tobias. 

Dusty nodded. “I am almost sure. I will write it. Do you have a pen?”  

Tobias patted his pockets and found a pen. He gave the photo back to Dusty. “And write down where I can reach you. I might need to speak to you again.” 

“I texted my number to the good-looking detective.” 

“She might have deleted it,” said Tobias, smiling now.

“There,” Dusty handed back the photo. “I move around with the band. The bar knows how to contact me. Dusty Svenson. Country singer.” He swept a mock bow. 

Tobias smoothed the photo and read the words “Sami Saga Nej”. In Swedish it meant “Sami Says No.” Who or what was Sami? Was it a Turkish name? Or Palestinian? He might have to call in counter-terrorism. There’d be endless meetings and paperwork. He groaned. “Is it political?”

“It was a green protest in Sweden,” said Dusty. “We played a concert for it. I have to go. I will miss my train.” 

Tobias drove straight to East Jutland police headquarters in Fredensgade and headed for the Investigations room. Eddy Haxen was fiddling with the coffee machine. 

“I’ve been up since five o’clock this morning,” he said. “I’d hardly got into bed when I had to get out of it again. Alsing’s on leave this weekend. A stolen car. We think it might have been used by the Danske bank gang. It went missing near where the getaway van was torched. It’s been found in the car park at Skolebakken. It’s with Forensics now. But I bet it was wiped clean before it was abandoned. Katrine is still over there. What brings you in?”

“S S N. Sami Saga Nej.” Tobias typed the name into an Internet search engine. “I met the guy who was making sheep’s eyes at Katrine on Friday night. He remembered where he’d seen the badge. It’s the logo of a bunch of greens in Sweden.”

Eddy clapped his hands softly. “Well done, Skaarup.” 

“Get me a coffee, would you?”

Eddy gave a mock salute. “Yes, Boss.”

“Bugger off.” 

The Internet search brought up several links. The first one took Tobias to the website of an umbrella organisation for environmental groups in Sweden. He scanned the page looking for Sami Saga Nej. He scrolled through several pages.

“Got it.”

Eddy set a cup of coffee in front of Tobias and read the screen over his shoulder.

Sami Saga Nej was formed in 1996 to fight for reindeer winter grazing rights for Sami herders and to oppose plans to dump nuclear waste at Mala in Sweden. S S N favoured direct action such as sit-ins and demonstrations. It raised money through both organized and impromptu music concerts. Their opposition to the nuclear waste facility was successful in 1997 when the plans were abandoned. The group also campaigned for the return of a sacrificial stone from the museum in Skelleftea to its original site near Mala. The stone was returned in August 1998. The occasion was marked by a special ceremony. The S S N continue to support the Sami reindeer herders’ rights to winter grazing.

“A Laplander,” said Tobias. “What was a Laplander doing in a Danish bog?”

“Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke,” said Eddy. “Ever been to Lapland, Boss?”

“I went there once for cross-country skiing,” said Tobias. 

“What was it like?”

“White,” said Tobias. “Frozen lakes, lots of trees. There was a blizzard. We didn’t leave the hotel for two days.” They’d left Agnes with Karren’s mother and gone away for a few days in the faint hope of mending their marriage. He’d felt trapped. Karren had spent most of her time in the sauna, emerging only to announce that she was leaving him. 

“Should be nice at this time of year,” said Eddy. “Land of the midnight sun.” 

Katrine came into the Investigations room. She dropped her jacket on the chair at her desk and skipped over to join Tobias and Eddy. 

“Forensics have taken the car to the garage, Eddy. You were right. All the surfaces were wiped clean. No prints. But there’s a tiny trace of smartwater on the floor under the driver’s seat. Enough for a DNA match anyway.” 

Eddy and Tobias acknowledged her with a wave. They were concentrating on the screen in front of them.

“The boss bumped into the musician who wanted to fuck you on Friday night,” said Eddy. “He remembered what S S N stood for.”

“He was OK,” said Katrine. “I thought he was nice. Hey.” She brightened. “So what does it mean, S S N?” 

“Samis Say No,” said Tobias. “A Swedish conservation group,” 

“Laplanders,” said Eddy.

“I don’t think you’re supposed to call them Laplanders any more,” said Katrine. 

“The group was active from 1996 to 1998,” said Tobias. “The coin is 1997. So when did Bogman come to Denmark?” 

“Brix thought he died no later than 1999,” said Eddy. “So Bogman must have been here between 1997 and 1999. He could have come earlier than 1997. If we had a name, we could check airline and ferry records. If we check airline and ferry records we might find a name. If he went by road there’d be no record at all. Do you ever feel we are going around in circles on this one?” 

“Start looking for Swedish and Sami silversmiths with the initials B H,” said Tobias. “I’ll call Larsen.” 

Katrine found three silversmiths with the initials B H on a website featuring Swedish designers. Three of them had the initials B H - Benedict Huss, Bo Holgersson and Berit Hansdatter. Only Benedict Huss and Bo Holgersson had their own websites. Benedict Huss could be contacted only by email. But Bo Holgersson had posted his telephone number as well. Eddy telephoned him. 

“I don’t make much jewellery,” he said. “Only the necklaces you can see on my website. I can give you the telephone number for Benedict Huss. I don’t have a number for Berit Hansdatter. Maybe Benedict knows how to contact her. Maybe Benedict is the guy you’re looking for. He had some bracelets in his last show.”

Benedict Huss told Eddy he made jewellery, but nothing like the bracelet Eddy described to him. “It’s a nice idea. But not mine.” He didn’t have a telephone number for Berit Hansdatter. “I was at college with her but we’ve lost touch. She lives up north somewhere. She doesn’t sell her stuff in any of the Stockholm galleries.” 

Katrine found an art gallery in Northern Sweden which included Berit Hansdatter in the list of artists it represented. 

“She lives in an artists’ community about twenty kilometres from Vilhelmina,” Katrine told Tobias. “They make a lot of traditional Sami stuff. Reindeer horn necklaces, braiding, some pewter. Most of the pictures on the gallery website are that kind of thing. Except for a necklace of engraved silver beads by Berit Hansdatter. There’s no telephone number listed for her, but there’s an address, and a map with directions from Vilhelmina.” 

Tobias booked a flight to Ostersund, the nearest airport to Vilhelmina. He would have to leave Aarhus before six the following morning. He went home to pack a bag. 

He was arranging a pair of socks to fit exactly into the fold of a sweater – he expected northern Sweden to be colder than Jutland, and it was cool in Aarhus despite the lilac blossom in his neighbour’s garden - when his phone buzzed. It was his ex-wife. 

“I’m busy, Karren.”

“This won’t take a minute. I need to speak to you about Agnes.” 

“I dropped her at the station this morning. She seems fine.”

“Did she tell you about this crazy encampment in Jutland? Demonstrating against a wind farm? If she gets arrested you have to promise you’ll get her unarrested.”

“I can’t do that,” Torben said. “I can’t interfere. And it’s not my district.”

“What’s the point of being a policeman if you can’t even help your own daughter?”

Tobias was silent. He could have reminded Karren that he’d joined the police because he’d been a penniless student and she was pregnant. That he’d wanted to get a job on his merits and not as a gift from his father-in-law. He sighed. 

“Well?” demanded Karren.

“Agnes promised me she won’t do anything illegal.”

“What about that crazy boyfriend with the tattoo?”

Tattoo? Tobias hadn’t noticed a tattoo.

“I don’t care if he gets arrested,” said Tobias. 

“Or some of the other eco-lunatics?”

“They’re not my problem, Karren. They’re not your problem either.”

“Why does Agnes have to be an activist? Why can’t she be green silently, like the rest of us? Hans Frederik’s father is furious.” 

“Silently green?” Tobias wanted to laugh. Karren drove a sports utility vehicle, a real gas guzzler. Hans Frederik shot pretty much anything that moved and he thought climate change was a left-wing plot. 

“We have solar panels, we have a ground heat exchanger,” said Karren. “Agnes approves of those. She believes in alternative energy. So what’s wrong with a wind farm?” 

“They’re cutting down a forest to build it. It’s a save the trees thing. Plus there’s some kind of otter that needs protecting.” 

“It’s her future Agnes needs to protect.”

Tobias made soothing noises. He promised to speak to Agnes about sticking to her studies. He thought he might ask her about Sami conservation groups as well. 


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