Mammon in Malmo, by Torquil MacLeod, part four: He had… dangerous people to expose
In the final exclusive extract from Torquil MacLeod’s eighth Anita Sundström thriller, the pieces begin to fall into place...
Hannah picked out some other frames from her tray. ‘I must say I’m surprised. It’s not a career that you expect people to walk away from.’
‘Too much had changed. It’s no longer the police force I joined. And a clash of personalities didn’t help.’
Hannah arched an eyebrow as she attended to the fitting, her fingers making sure that the ends of the arms tucked neatly over Anita’s ears.
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‘That can happen.’
Anita got the impression that Hannah was speaking from experience.
‘The junior partner?’
‘You are a good detective. Hugo brought in Preben Agger to modernise the practice not long after you were last in. He’s from Denmark.’
Anita caught a hint of disapproval. ‘You don’t like him?’
‘He’s all right,’ Hannah said guardedly. ‘He did some work in Africa before coming here. New broom - full of bright ideas. You’ll have had first-hand experience of our new machine - the OCT? Well, we’ve actually got two of them. The expense,’ she added with a grimace.
‘Amazing gizmo, though, you must admit. All the things it can do - I had no idea. That image of my eyeball Hugo showed me... it’s like looking at craters on the moon. He told
me I’ve got a cataract developing... I mean it’s great that it can tell you things like that. But I was glad to know I haven’t got high cholesterol or Lyme disease. It can even show signs of diabetes - something close to my heart. I don’t know if I told you Leyla’s got type 1?’
‘Oh dear! That must be a worry.’
‘It is. But Lasse and Jazmin are coping brilliantly. And I now have the time to help out. It means that Jazmin’s been able to go back to part-time study at the university. She’s doing
something to do with ecology.’
‘No ambition. Drives his father mad. He’s just happy to do his shifts at the café he’s worked at for ages and spend time looking after Leyla and running the home, though it’s only a
Hannah sat back and squinted at Anita. She wasn’t totally satisfied. ‘So, you’re not working?’ She leant forward again to make a minor adjustment.
‘No, I am. I’ve been working at the tourist information centre opposite the station. Over the summer. It’s been very busy. Malmö’s a popular place these days.’
‘How are they?’
‘They feel comfortable.’
Hannah held up a mirror so Anita could see herself. She liked the glasses, though she wasn’t as pleased with the rest of her appearance. She was ageing, and there was nothing she could do about it. There was no disguising the crow’s feet around the grey-green eyes; her neck was more jowly; her skin that little bit more puffy; and she felt she was generally sagging more all over, despite her runs round Pildammsparken.
These, in a ploy to stave off the inevitable, she had increased in the last couple of weeks because she was soon off to England for a visit to her long-distance lover, Kevin Ash. She always tried to make an effort for Kevin, even though he’d fancy her whatever she looked like. She was increasingly grateful that his love really was blind.
‘We can try some more if you want,’ Hannah said, though she was nodding in approval at the current pair.
‘No, I like these.’
‘I’m pleased.’ Hannah retrieved the glasses while Anita popped on her own. ‘I’ll get those ordered with your new prescription, and they should be ready in a week.’
‘Will they be in before next Thursday? It’s just I’m away for a few days and it would be nice to debut them on holiday.’
‘I’m sure we can manage that.’ Hannah was writing down all the details. ‘Going anywhere nice?’
‘England. The north – Cumbria. A place called Penrith.’
‘I hope you have a lovely time.’
Hannah finished her paperwork. ‘Do you want to pay now or when you collect your glasses?’
Anita saw the figure that was written down and blanched.
‘I’ll pay later.’
* * *
Shit! There he is! Haglund grabbed his camera, whipped it up to eye level and clicked away furiously as his quarry sauntered out of the hotel entrance. The man stood waiting in full view. Normally, he strode off in the direction of his office. Why was he hanging about? And there she was! They usually left separately. She must have been paying the hotel bill so nothing showed up on his account. He caught him smiling at her. They were getting careless. She came up to him and kissed him briefly but provocatively on the mouth.
Got you! The camera kept whirring as they squeezed hands before departing. That’s not what you should be doing with your wife’s best friend!
He didn’t bother following them. He laid the camera down and got out of the car. He crossed over to the hotel. He’d bung the concierge a few notes to get a quick peek at the room, on the off chance they’d left something incriminating.
As he entered the foyer, he realized that he wanted to tie up this case as quickly as possible, get paid and get out. He had more important things to do. Dangerous people to expose.
To continue reading Mammon In Malmö, by Torquil MacLeod the novel is available online and in person from June 6, at all High Street bookshops