The Girl through the Dragon Tatalso Page 1

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PROLOGUEA Friday in NovemberIt taken place annually, was practically a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was yielded, he took off the wrapping paper and also then picked up the telephone to speak to Detective Superintendent Morell that, once he reexhausted, had actually relocated to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not just the exact same age, they had actually been born on the exact same day - which was something of an irony under the circumstances. The old policemale was sitting via his coffee, waiting, expecting the call."It arrived.""What is it this year?""I don't understand what sort it is. I'll need to obtain someone to tell me what it is. It's white.""No letter, I expect.""Just the flower. The frame is the exact same sort as last year. One of those do-it-yourself ones.""Postmark?""Stockholm.""Handwriting?""Same as always, all in resources. Upideal, neat lettering."With that, the subject was exhausted, and not another word was exchanged for virtually a minute. The reexhausted policemale leaned ago in his kitchen chair and attracted on his pipe. He kbrand-new he was no much longer expected to come up via a pithy comment or any sharp question which would certainly burned a brand-new light on the case. Those days had long since passed, and the exchange between the 2 men seemed prefer a routine attaching to a mystery which no-one else in the totality world had the leastern interemainder in unravelling.The Latin name was Leptospermum (Myrtaceae) rubinette. It was a plant around 4 inches high with tiny, heather-choose foliage and also a white flower with 5 petals around one inch throughout.The plant was aboriginal to the Australian bush and also uplands, wbelow it wregarding be found among tussocks of grass. There it was referred to as Desert Scurrently. Someone at the botanical gardens in Uppsala would later confirm that it was a plant hardly ever cultivated in Sweden. The botanist created in her report that it was concerned the tea tree and that it was periodically confused via its even more prevalent cousin Leptospermum scoparium, which grew in abundance in New Zealand also. What distinguished them, she mentioned, was that rubinette had a little variety of microscopic pink dots at the tips of the petals, offering the freduced a faint pinkish tinge.Rubinette was altogether an unpretentious freduced. It had actually no known medicinal properties, and also it can not induce hallucinatory experiences. It was neither edible, nor had actually a use in the manufacture of plant dyes. On the other hand also, the aboriginal people of Australia pertained to as sacred the area and also the flora about Ayers Rock.The botanist shelp that she herself had actually never checked out one before, however after consulting her colleagues she was to report that attempts had actually been made to introduce the plant at a nursery in Goteborg, and also that it might, of course, be cultivated by amateur botanists. It was challenging to flourish in Sweden bereason it thrived in a dry climate and had to reprimary indoors half of the year. It would not thrive in calcareous soil and it had to be watered from below. It required pampering.The fact of its being so rare a flower should have actually made it easier to map the source of this particular specimen, however in practice it was an impossible task. Tbelow was no regisattempt to look it up in, no licences to explore. Anywright here from a handful to a few hundred enthusiasts can have had access to seeds or plants. And those can have actually changed hands in between friends or been bought by mail order from anywhere in Europe, anywhere in the Antipodes.But it was just one in the series of mystifying flowers that yearly arrived by article on the initially day of November. They were always beautiful and for the the majority of component rare flowers, always pressed, mounted on water-colour paper in a basic framework measuring 6 inches by eleven inches.The stselection story of the flowers had actually never before been reported in the press; only an extremely few world knew of it. Thirty years ago the continuous arrival of the freduced was the object of much scrutiny - at the National Forensic Laboratory, among fingerprint professionals, graphologists, criminal investigators, and also one or 2 loved ones and also friends of the recipient. Now the actors in the drama were but three: the elderly birthday boy, the retired police detective, and also the perboy who had actually posted the freduced. The first 2 at least had actually reached such an age that the group of interested parties would certainly quickly be even more diminished.The policeguy was a hardened veteran. He would certainly never foracquire his initially instance, in which he had actually had actually to take into custody a violent and also appallingly drunk worker at an electrical subterminal before he brought about others harm. Throughout his career he had actually lugged in poachers, wife beaters, con males, vehicle thieves, and also drunk drivers. He had actually dealt with burglars, drug dealers, rapists, and also one deranged bomber. He had been involved in nine murder or manslaughter situations. In 5 of these the murderer had referred to as the police himself and also, complete of remorse, confessed to having killed his wife or brvarious other or some various other family member. Two others were fixed within a few days. Another forced the assistance of the National Criminal Police and also took 2 years.The 9th situation was resolved to the police's satisfactivity, which is to say that they kbrand-new that the murderer was, however bereason the proof was so inconsiderable the public prosecutor determined not to continue with the instance. To the detective superintendent's dismay, the statute of constraints inevitably put an finish to the issue. But all in all he can look ago on an outstanding career.He was anything however pleased.For the detective, the "Case of the Pressed Flowers" had actually been nagging at him for years - his last, unsolved, and frustrating situation. The case was doubly absurd bereason after spending literally countless hours brooding, on duty and also off, he could not say past doubt that a crime had indeed been committed.The two guys knew that whoever had actually placed the flowers would certainly have actually worn gloves, that tright here would be no fingerprints on the frame or the glass. The frame might have been bought in camera shops or stationery stores the world over. There was, rather ssuggest, no result in follow. Many regularly the parcel was posted in Stockholm, yet three times from London, twice from Paris, twice from Copenhagen, when from Madrid, as soon as from Bonn, and when from Pensacola, Florida. The detective superintendent had had to look it up in an atlas.After placing dvery own the telephone the eighty-two-year-old birthday boy sat for a long time looking at the pretty but meaningless flower whose name he did not yet understand. Then he looked up at the wall over his desk. Tright here hung forty-three pressed flowers in their frames. Four rows of ten, and one at the bottom through 4. In the top row one was lacking from the ninth slot. Desert Scurrently would certainly be number forty-four.Without warning he started to weep. He surprised himself through this sudden burst of emotion after practically forty years.PART 1. IncentiveDECEMBER 20 - JANUARY 3Eighteenager percent of the women in Sweden have actually at one time been threatened by a guy.CHAPTER 1Friday, December 20The trial was irretrievably over; everything that can be sassist had been shelp, but he had actually never questioned that he would shed. The created verdict was handed dvery own at 10:00 on Friday morning, and also all that continued to be was a summing up from the reporters waiting in the corridor external the district court."Carl" Mikael Blomkvist observed them with the doorway and also slowed his action. He had no wish to talk about the verdict, yet concerns were unpreventable, and also he - of all human being - knew that they had actually to be asked and also answered. This is how it is to be a criminal, he assumed. On the other side of the microphone. He straightened up and also tried to smile. The reporters gave him friendly, almost embarrassed greetings."Let's see... Aftonbladet, Expressen, TT wire organization, TV4, and... wbelow are you from?... ah yes, Dagens Nyheter. I should be a celebrity," Blomkvist shelp."Give us a sound bite, Kalle Blomkvist." It was a reporter from one of the evening files.Blomkvist, hearing the nickname, required himself as always not to roll his eyes. Once, once he was twenty-3 and had actually simply started his first summer task as a journalist, Blomkvist had actually chanced upon a gang which had actually pulled off 5 financial institution robberies over the previous two years. Tright here was no doubt that it was the same gang in every instance. Their trademark wregarding host up 2 financial institutions at a time via army precision. They wore masks from Disney World, so inevitably police logic called them the Donald Duck Gang. The newspapers renamed them the Bear Gang, which sounded even more sinister, even more correct to the reality that on two occasions they had recklessly fired warning shots and threatened curious passersby.Their 6th outing was at a financial institution in ostergotland also at the elevation of the holiday seachild. A reporter from the neighborhood radio station occurred to be in the financial institution at the time. As shortly as the robbers were gone he saw a public telephone and also dictated his story for live broadactors.Blomkvist was spending a number of days through a girlfriend at her parents' summer cabin close to Katrineholm. Exactly why he made the link he could not define, even to the police, but as he was listening to the news report he remembered a group of 4 men in a summer cabin a few hundred feet dvery own the road. He had checked out them playing badminton out in the yard: 4 blond, athletic kinds in shorts with their shirts off. They were obviously bodycontractors, and also tbelow had actually been something about them that had actually made him look twice - probably it was because the game was being played in blazing sunshine through what he recognised as strongly concentrated energy.Tright here had actually been no good reason to suspect them of being the bank robbers, but neverthemuch less he had gone to a hill overlooking their cabin. It seemed empty. It was around forty minutes prior to a Volvo drove up and parked in the yard. The young guys obtained out, in a hurry, and were each transporting a sports bag, so they can have been doing nothing more than coming earlier from a swim. But one of them returned to the auto and also took out from the boot somepoint which he hurriedly extended via his jacket. Even from Blomkvist's relatively far-off monitoring write-up he could tell that it was a good old AK4, the rifle that had been his constant companion for the year of his military service.He called the police and also that was the begin of a three-day siege of the cabin, blanket coverage by the media, with Blomkvist in a front-row seat and also collecting a gratifyingly big fee from an evening paper. The police erected their headquarters in a caravan in the garden of the cabin wbelow Blomkvist was continuing to be.The fevery one of the Bear Gang provided him the star billing that launched him as a young journalist. The downside of his celebrity was that the various other evening newspaper can not withstand using the headline "Kalle Blomkvist solves the situation." The tongue-in-cheek story was created by an older female columnist and consisted of references to the young detective in Astrid Lindgren's publications for kids. To make matters worse, the paper had run the story through a grainy photograph of Blomkvist via his mouth fifty percent open up even as he elevated an index finger to point.It made no difference that Blomkvist had never before in life offered the name Carl. From that minute on, to his dismight, he was nicknamed Kalle Blomkvist by his peers - an epithet employed through taunting provocation, not unfriendly but not really friendly either. Despite his respect for Astrid Lindgren - whose books he loved - he detested the nickname. It took him numerous years and also far weightier journalistic successes before the nickname began to fade, yet he still cringed if ever before the name was supplied in his hearing.Right currently he achieved a placid smile and shelp to the reporter from the evening paper: "Oh come on, think of somepoint yourself. You usually carry out."His tone was not unpleasant. They all kbrand-new each various other, more or much less, and Blomkvist's the majority of vicious critics had actually not come that morning. One of the journalists tright here had actually at one time operated through him. And at a party some years back he had actually almost prospered in picking up one of the reporters - the womale from She on TV4."You took a real hit in tright here now," shelp the one from Dagens Nyheter, clearly a young part-timer. "How does it feel?"Regardless of the seriousness of the case, neither Blomkvist nor the older journalists could help smiling. He exreadjusted glances via TV4. How does it feel? The half-witted sports reporter shoves his microphone in the face of the Breathmuch less Athlete on the finishing line."I have the right to only regret that the court did not concerned a different conclusion," he said a little bit stuffily."Three months in gaol and 150,000 kronor dameras. That's pretty severe," sassist She from TV4."I'll make it through.""Are you going to apologise to Wennerstrom? Shake his hand?""I think not.""So you still would certainly say that he's a crook?" Dagens Nyheter.The court had just ruled that Blomkvist had libelled and defamous the financier Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. The trial was over and he had no plans to appeal. So what would take place if he repetitive his insurance claim on the courthouse steps? Blomkvist determined that he did not want to find out."I assumed I had great reason to publish the information that was in my possession. The court has actually ruled otherwise, and I must accept that the judicial procedure has actually taken its course. Those of us on the editorial staff will need to discuss the judgement before we decide what we're going to carry out. I have no more to include.""But how did you pertained to forgain that journalists actually need to back up their assertions?" She from TV4. Her expression was neutral, but Blomkvist thought he experienced a hint of disappointed repudiation in her eyes.The reporters on site, apart from the boy from Dagens Nyheter, were all veterans in the organization. For them the answer to that question was past the conceivable. "I have nothing to include," he recurring, however once the others had actually welcomed this TV4 stood him against the doors to the courthome and asked her questions in front of the cam. She was kinder than he deoffered, and tright here were enough clear answers to meet all the reporters still standing behind her. The story would be in the headlines however he reminded himself that they were not managing the media occasion of the year below. The reporters had actually what they essential and also headed ago to their respective newsrooms.He thought about walking, yet it was a blustery December day and also he was already cold after the interwatch. As he walked dvery own the courtroom steps, he witnessed William Borg obtaining out of his vehicle.

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He have to have actually been sitting tright here throughout the interview. Their eyes met, and also then Borg smiled.