By Karin Fossum

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They were searching for clues that Ida had been there, even though Laila Heggen said she had not. Then they went into the centre of Glassverket. They wandered round the square scanning the passing faces and bodies, but no sign of Ida. Just to be sure, they went past the school where Ida was a Year Five pupil, but the playground lay deserted. Three times during the trip Helga borrowed Ruth’s mobile phone to call her home number. Perhaps Ida was waiting in the living room. But there was no reply.

Everywhere, of course. ’ Ruth had to lean against the wall. Yet again she realised just how serious the situation was. Her son was still fiddling with the keyboard, moving the prowling cat into a blind alley. The mouse stayed put, waiting for its next move. ‘So that dent of yours is not worth worrying about,’ she said in a fraught voice. ‘It’s just some damage to an old car, which can be fixed. ’ 29 He nodded slowly. She could hear his breathing; it was laboured. ’ she said with sudden sympathy. ’ He shook his head.

The semidarkness and silence in Sejer’s office were poignant. ‘We have a case,’ he concluded. ’ Sejer nodded. ‘Though there’s not 24 much we can do for the time being. We just have to sit here and wait. ’ Skarre leapt down from the desk and went over to the window. ’ he asked with his back to Sejer. The tarmac on the car park outside the police station gleamed black and oily in the rain. ‘Yes. This morning. She’ll be gone four months,’ Sejer said. Skarre nodded. ’ ‘She intends to find out why some people grow less than others,’ Sejer smiled.

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