Thursday: Week One

East Jutland Police District


If Bruno Holst was the body in the bog, who killed him? 

Tobias ruled out Torben Skov, the teenage flyer of model planes. Torben was eighteen, which would make him six, or younger, when the body was dumped in the bog. His uncle, Kenneth Skov, on the other hand, would have been in his early twenties. Tobias knew it might only be a coincidence that Bruno Holst was a model plane enthusiast and that his remains had been found by another enthusiast of approximately the same age. But he thought coincidences should always be explored. Which is why on Thursday morning he and Katrine Skaarup spent an hour with Kenneth Skov going over exactly how he had found a mummified foot while searching for the missing tailfin of his crashed glider.  

“We started over by the hut,” said Kenneth Skov. He spoke quickly. “It’s about a kilometre from where I found the foot. Torben landed his Supercub and then I got my Tigermoth airborne. It’s a flat field glider so I can fly it with planes. You can’t always fly both together. I got it up with a tug plane. It caught a thermal and rose very high. It flew well for about five minutes. I did a loop. Then I did a couple of somersaults. I was flying it east. Almost out of sight. Then it went into a cloud and I shouted to Torben could he see it and he said no. Then I thought bloody hell, I’ve lost it and it’s going to crash.”

“How far away was it?” asked Katrine.

“I already told you. About a kilometre, at least. I wouldn’t normally go over there. The ground is marshy and most of the bushes have thorns.” Kenneth here displayed hands covered in scratch marks. “But the tailfin was missing and I thought it might be in the bushes so I scrabbled through them. Nothing. But when I got through the bushes to the other side, I saw the foot. Dark brown. Like a big lump of liquorice. At first I thought it was a piece of bog wood, you know the way they have funny shapes sometimes? But when I looked more closely I saw it was a foot. I texted Torben and he came over. It took him a while because he had to go a long way up the bank of a stream to cross over to me. And when he saw it he said it was a bog body like Tollund Man in the museum at Silkeborg. So we called the police.”

“You called the television people first,” said Katrine. She was enjoying herself. Tobias was allowing her to lead the interview. Her first formal interview, with video recording, of a possible witness in a murder investigation. She couldn’t wait to tell her parents.

“We thought he was going to be another Tollund Man. We didn’t know the poor bugger had been done in.”

“How do you know he was done in?” 

“Because it said so on the television.”

“We haven’t released any statement yet,” said Tobias.

“They were speculating. I definitely heard them speculating he was murdered.”

“How do you know it was a he?” asked Katrine.

“There aren’t many women flying model planes.” 

“So you think he was a member of your club,” said Tobias.

“Maybe. I don’t know. Until I know who he is I won’t know if he was a member or not, will I?”

“Has any member of the club gone missing?” asked Katrine.

Kenneth shrugged. “Not that I know of. I’ve been a member for ten years. People come and go all the time.”

“How many members are there?”

“I don’t know. Maybe about forty? There isn’t a formal club with meetings and agendas and stuff. People just turn up. It’s usually a mixture of the same faces. I’ve told you everything I know. If I remember anything else, I’ll tell you. All right? Can I go now?”

Katrine glanced at Tobias. 

“Yes. You can go,” said Tobias. “When you’ve given us all the names and addresses of everyone you know in the club.”

“I don’t know their addresses. I fly with Torben and a couple of mates. I know where my mates live. But I don’t know about the others. You can’t keep me here.”

“So who knows? Isn’t there a club secretary or someone?” 

Kenneth Skov looked blank for a few moments. “There might be names and addresses on the petition,” he said. 

Tobias sat forward. “What petition?”

“About ten years ago. Before I started flying there. They were going to put restrictions on people who used the bog. The club sent a petition to the Regional Council. But I told you. That was before my time. Now can I go?”

 “Yes, yes,” said Tobias. “But tell us if you’re planning to fly off anywhere.”

Kenneth Skov gave him a look. But Tobias had a straight face. 

When he left the interview room, Katrine said, “Do you think it’s possible Bruno Holst killed someone in the model airplane club and that’s the real reason he disappeared?”


“Maybe they committed a robbery together. Maybe they used model planes to smuggle stuff?”

“You wouldn’t fly stuff far in a model plane.” 

“You know what I mean. Where do they buy the planes? Maybe stuff comes through customs in a model plane.” Her shoulders slumped. “No. That doesn’t work. Those things are expensive. They wouldn’t be buying them all the time.”  

“Check the details of the other missing males who match the victim’s description,” said Tobias. “Could any of them have known Bruno Holst? Were any of them model plane enthusiasts? And get a copy of the petition the model airplane buffs sent to the planners.” He smiled. “Imagination is a good thing in a detective, Katrine.” 

There were two petitions about Roligmose. One from the model airplane club and one from a hunting club. The Planning Department emailed the documents to Katrine. She was checking the names and addresses on the petitions against the list of missing persons when Eddy tapped her on the shoulder. 

“That can wait, Skaarup. Get your coat. We’re going to the hospital. The Sexual Assault Centre.”

Katrine snatched her jacket from a hook on the wall and hurried after him. 


They were met by the doctor on duty, Josefine Bro. She had round glasses and a ponytail. Eddy thought she looked about the same age as his daughter who was sixteen and still at school. 

“I’ve worked here for the last three years,” she said. “I’ve seen victims of rape and domestic violence. But I’ve not seen anything like this. She has serious, multiple bruising. Nearly all her ribs are broken. She has a black eye.” Dr Bro suddenly looked and sounded a lot older. “She has internal injuries as well.”

“Has she said who did it?” asked Eddy. 

Doctor Bro shook her head. “She was left at the door of the Emergency Room. Dumped like a sack out of the back of a van, according to the ambulance driver who saw it. She was naked, except for some kind of kimono. She won’t say who beat her. It was probably her husband or boyfriend. It usually is. But at least she consented to photographs. We always take photographs in case there’s a prosecution. Come and take a look.”  

In her office, she touched the screen on her computer. An image flashed up. Katrine felt a rush of vomit into her throat. She turned away and put her hand over her mouth. She swallowed bile and made herself look at the screen. Her mouth dried.   

“She is wearing a bracelet with the name Girlie,” said the doctor. “She answers to that name, but she won’t tell us anything else. She has no bag, no purse, and no identification. She has only a few words of Danish. She can speak a little English.”

“Did anyone get the number of the van?” asked Eddy.

“Maybe the ambulance driver,” said the doctor. “I don’t know.” 

She led Eddy and Katrine to a room where a small figure sat bunched in a high-backed chair, motionless as a doll. She looked less bad in the flesh than in the photographs. A hospital social worker had given her tracksuit trousers, a T-shirt and a thick woollen cardigan which concealed the bruises on her body. She had regained some colour in her cheeks. The swelling around her right eye had subsided, although the eye itself was still puffy and closed. 

Eddy positioned himself against the back wall of the room and nudged Katrine forwards. 

Katrine crouched and put one hand on the arm of the chair. She said slowly, in English. “My name is Katrine. I am a police officer. Your name is Girlie. Is that correct?” 

The doll-like figure’s lips moved. Katrine leaned closer to hear the whispered, “Yes.”

“Who did this to you, Girlie?” 

A tear trickled from the unswollen eye. Girlie lifted her hand to wipe it away. She wore a wedding ring. 

“Did your husband do this?’

Girlie whispered, “No.” 

“Whoever did this is a very bad person. We need to stop him doing this again.”

Girlie closed her good eye. Her mouth tightened. 

“If you tell us who did this, we can stop him doing it again to you or anyone else.” 

Girlie turned her head away.

Eddy slipped out of the room to speak to the doctor hovering in the corridor.  

“She’s frightened of whoever did it,” he said. “Probably her husband. Although she denies it.”

“Almost certainly her husband,” said Doctor Bro. “I’ve seen this kind of thing before, although not as bad as this. They won’t leave their husbands until they get residency. They’re afraid of being deported.”  

“She could be an illegal,” said Eddy. “Either way, we need to tell Immigration.”

“What will happen to her?”

“If she’s illegal, she’ll be deported,” said Eddy. “If she tells us who did this, we’ll arrest him. If it’s her husband and she’s been here longer than two years, she might be allowed to stay.”

He went back into the room. He stood over the crumpled figure in the chair.

“It’s an offence to withhold information about a crime,” he said in a stern voice. “Assault is a serious crime. Who did this to you, Girlie?”

Girlie bit her lip and looked away. 

“We have to tell Immigration about you,” Eddy said. 

He saw her body stiffen.  

“It will help you if you talk to us first,” he said in a softer tone. 

He thought there was a flicker of response. But Girlie didn’t speak. She closed her eyes. 

Eddy and Katrine exchanged glances. Eddy shrugged. Girlie gave a little snore. Her body was limp.

“We could be here all day,” Eddy muttered. “We have to speak to the ambulance driver and I still have that report to finish.” He shepherded Katrine into the corridor. He had his phone out, ready to call Immigration. 

They called into Doctor Bro’s office before leaving the Sexual Assault Centre. 

“She’s asleep,” said Eddy. “And she’s not any more helpful when she’s awake. An Immigration officer will be here in about twenty minutes to interview her. And we’ll send a uniformed officer to keep an eye on her.” 

“You hardly need to,” said Doctor Bro. “She’s not fit to go anywhere at the moment.” 

“In that case,” said Eddy. “We’ll leave you in peace.”

They found the ambulance driver enjoying a quick cigarette in the parking bay outside the emergency room. 

“It happened so fast,” he said. “The van pulled up. She was pushed out. I was coming on duty. I rushed over to her. I didn’t have time to check the number plate. It was a white van. Not new.”

Eddy said, “Did you see the driver? Was he alone?”

“There was a woman with him,” said the driver. “White van. White driver. Black woman in the passenger seat. Big shoulders. She was the one who did the dumping.”

“You’re sure it was a woman?”

The ambulance driver cupped his hands at chest level and winked. “I’m sure.”

“But she didn’t get out of the van?”

The ambulance driver shook his head. “Just pushed her out.” He sucked on his cigarette. “Maybe she was an illegal. You see a lot of things in this job. We got called out to an emergency last year. There was no one at the address when we got there except a woman with a burst appendix. Everyone else had scarpered. Illegals, every one of them.”

Eddy glanced around the parking bay. No CCTV. Pity. The driver was probably correct. The victim was an illegal, beaten up by her husband or boyfriend and taken to hospital by a friend, also an illegal.

“Immigration will probably want to speak to you,” he said. 

“They know where to find me,” said the driver. He extinguished his cigarette with a flick of his thumb and threw the stub into a bin. “Pity they’re not better at finding illegal immigrants.”

Katrine was scrolling through the Missing Persons list when Eddy took a call from Immigration. Katrine heard him groan and slap his desk. 

“You can add another missing person to the list,” he said. “Girlie disappeared from the hospital before Immigration could speak to her.”

They tossed for which one of them was going to tell Larsen. Katrine lost.

Larsen was icily angry. “You’re only here a week and you manage to fuck-up. I should send you straight to Traffic Control. I have enough politicians bleating about immigration. I don’t need them to know we let an illegal slip out of our hands.” 

“She might not be illegal, Sir.”

“And pigs might fucking fly, Skaarup. She could have helped us find out who got her into the country. Why weren’t you watching her?”

“A constable was on the way, Sir. But she was gone when he got there.”

“Why didn’t you wait for him?”

“She was asleep and the doctor thought she was too injured to go anywhere. She never moved while I was there. I’m amazed she could walk.” 

“Blood lazy of you. Bloody careless of you. I don’t need lazy and careless detectives. This is a black mark against you. And Haxen as well. I suppose you tossed for who was going to tell me and you lost? Screw up once more and you’re off my team. That goes for both of you.” 

“I’m sorry, Sir.”

Larsen calmed down. “If these people don’t have the wit to see that they’re better off talking to us and getting the abusers locked up, then I don’t know what we’re supposed to do. Now bugger off. And don’t fuck up again.” He waved her away. 

Katrine spent five minutes in the washroom dabbing her tears away. 

“Why do you want to join the police?” Katrine’s best friend had asked in astonishment when Katrine confided that she wanted be a detective. “It’s not a flattering uniform. Especially with those bulky vests. You have a nice figure, Katrine. But I suppose if you’re a detective you can wear your own clothes.” Linda had tossed her hair back and adjusted her skirt. Linda was now assistant manager of a hotel in Skagen. They were still good friends.

Katrine’s parents were equally puzzled by her choice of career. No member of the family, for as far back as they could remember, had been in the police force or any other job in a uniform. They were all independent-minded dairy farmers. 

“At least it’s a good job with a pension,” said her father. “But it’s a pity you have to leave the island.”

Since leaving Bornholm had been Katrine’s primary ambition, she just smiled and promised to come home as often as she could. She was a dutiful daughter. She’d been a diligent student. She was determined to be a good detective. But in her first few weeks in the Investigations Unit, she had felt as though she was always missing the point, was trying too hard, was patronised by Tobias and Eddy. Larsen’s threat rang in her ears. She looked at herself in the mirror. Pull yourself together, Skaarup. She checked her eyes in the mirror. Her face was white but her eyes were only slightly pink. She straightened her shoulders and made her way back to the Investigations room.  

Eddy looked up when she came in. “How was it?”

Katrine shrugged. “Not too bad.”

“So he shouted and raged and threatened to fire you if you fucked up again?”

Katrine smiled. Her eyes were bright with unshed tears.  

“Well done,” said Eddy. “You’ve survived your first bollocking.” He stood up and clapped her on the back. “Join the club.”

Katrine felt it had almost been worth it. 


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