By Håkan Nesser, Laurie Thompson (translator)

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The pimp, thin as a rake with jet-black, straggly hair, eyeing him scornfully and sneering. Hands raised, palms up, and shaking his head. And the other man—her face over the shoulders of the naked man. A sweaty, hairy back, heavy buttocks thrusting violently into her and pressing her up against the wall, her legs wide apart and her eyes reflecting his own, seeing what he sees . . just for a second before he turns on his heel and leaves. The same images . . and imposed upon them, penetrating them, the image of the ten-year-old with blond plaits, roaring with laughter, running toward him along the beach.

He tipped them onto the bed and hesitated for a moment. Then he rang reception and ordered a beer. He tucked the folders under his arm and went to sit on the balcony. It took him several minutes to adjust the parasol so that he wasn’t troubled by the evening sun, but once he’d sorted that out and the girl had brought his beer, he sat out there until he’d read every single word. ” He wasn’t exactly looking forward to listening to the recordings of all the interviews. In normal circumstances, if he’d been on home ground, he would have had them typed out as a matter of course; but as things were, it was no doubt best to take the bull by the horns and put the earphones on.

Oh, damn! ” The police station in Kaalbringen was a two-story affair at the Grande Place. A front office, canteen, changing rooms and a few cells in the basement; a conference room and four offices on the upper floor. Because of his status as chief of police, Bausen had the biggest office, of course, with a desk and bookcases in dark oak, a worn leather sofa and a view over the square. Inspectors Moerk and Kropke each had a smaller office overlooking the courtyard, and the fourth was occupied by Constables Bang and Mooser.

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