by Craig Russell
4 June and Thursday 5 June
KRIMINALHAUPTKOMMISSAR JAN FABEL
June 2003, 23.00
TIME IS STRANGE,
IS IT NOT? I WRITE AND YOU READ AND WE SHARE THE SAME MOMENT. YET
AS I WRITE THIS, HERR HAUPTKOMMISSAR, YOU SLEEP AND MY NEXT VICTIM
STILL LIVES: AS YOU READ IT, SHE IS ALREADY DEAD. OUR DANCE CONTINUES.
I HAVE SPENT
ALL OF MY LIFE ON THE EDGE OF OTHER PEOPLE'S PHOTOGRAPHS. UNNOTICED.
BUT DEEP WITHIN, UNKNOWN TO ME AND HIDDEN FROM THE WORLD, LAY THE
SEED OF SOMETHING GREAT AND NOBLE.
NOW THAT GREATNESS
SHINES THROUGH ME. NOT THAT I CLAIM GREATNESS FOR MYSELF: I AM MERELY
THE INSTRUMENT, THE VEHICLE.
YOU HAVE SEEN
WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF: MY SACRED ACT. IT IS NOW MY SACRED DUTY, MY
MISSION, TO CONTINUE, JUST AS IT IS YOUR DUTY TO STOP ME. IT WILL
TAKE YOU A LONG TIME TO FIND ME, HERR FABEL. BUT BEFORE YOU DO I
SHALL HAVE SPREAD THE WINGS OF THE EAGLE FAR AND WIDE. I SHALL MAKE
MY MARK, IN BLOOD, ON OUR SACRED SOIL.
YOU CAN STOP
ME, BUT YOU WILL NEVER CATCH ME.
I SHALL NO LONGER
BE AT THE EDGE OF OTHER PEOPLE'S PHOTOGRAPHS. IT IS MY TURN AT THE
SON OF SVEN
4 June, 4.30 a.m. Pöseldorf, Hamburg.
is water: there are more canals in Hamburg than in Amsterdam or
Venice; the Aussenalster is the largest city-centre lake in Europe.
It also rains throughout the year. Tonight, after a day when the
air had lain over the city like a damp, stifling cloak, the heavens
opened with vehemence.
As the thunderstorm
outside flashed and growled its way across the city's sky, images
sparked across Fabel's mind. Time imploded and folded in on itself.
People and events separated by decades met in a place outside time.
Fabel always dreamed of the same things: the untidiness of real
life, the ends left loose, the stones left unturned. The unravelled
ends of a dozen investigations would insinuate themselves into every
corner of his sleeping brain. In this dream Fabel walked, as he
had done in so many dreams before, among the murdered of fifteen
years. He knew them all, each death-bleached face, in the same way
most people would remember the faces of their extended family. Most
of the dead, those whose killers he had caught, did not acknowledge
him and passed by; but the dead eyes of those whose cases he had
not solved gazed at him in bleak accusation and held out their wounds.
The crowd parted
and Ursula Kastner stepped out to face Fabel. She wore the same
smart, grey Chanel jacket as the last time, the only time, Fabel
had seen her. Fabel stared at a tiny spot of blood that stained
the jacket. The spot grew larger. A deeper red. Her bloodless, grey
lips moved and formed the words 'Why have you not caught him?' For
a moment Fabel was puzzled, in that vague, detached way one is in
dreams, as to why he could not hear her voice. Was it because he
had never heard it in life? Then he realised: of course, it was
because her lungs had been torn out and therefore there was no breath
to carry her words.
A noise woke
him up. There was a rumble of thunder beyond the picture windows
and the soft crackle of rain on the panes, then the urgent trilling
of the phone. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he picked up the
It's Werner. You'd better get down here, Chef . . . there's been
The storm continued
to rage. Electrical flashes danced across the Hamburg skyline, throwing
out the black silhouettes of the Fernsehturm television tower and
the spire of St Michaelis like flat stage scenery. The wipers on
Fabel's BMW, switched to their fastest setting, fought to clear
the windscreen of the barrage of thick viscous globs that exploded
against the glass and turned street lamps and the headlights of
oncoming cars into fractured stars. Fabel had picked up Werner Meyer
at the Polizeipräsidium, and now Werner's considerable bulk
was squeezed into the front passenger seat, filling the car with
the smell of the rain-soaked fabric of his coat.
look like our guy?' asked Fabel.
'From what the
guy from Davidwache KriPo said, yep . . . looks like our guy.'
used the English word. 'So he's definitely a serial. Did you call
shrugged his vast shoulders, 'I'm afraid it's that asshole Möller.
He'll already be there. Maria's at the scene as well and Paul and
Anna are waiting for us at Davidwache.'
an e-mail? Anything through yet?'
Fabel took the
Ost-West-Strasse into St Pauli and turned into the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's
Sündige Meile - sinful mile - which still glittered joylessly
in the five a.m. rain. The downpour dulled to a heavy drizzle as
Fabel swung the car into the Grosse Freiheit. Traditional indecency
and imported middlebrow banality were waging war, and this was the
front line. Porn shops and stripclubs were fighting a rearguard
action against the invasion of trendy wine bars and musicals imported
from Broadway or London's West End. Bright promises of 'Live Sex',
'Peep Show' and 'Hardcore Movies' competed with even brighter signs
for Cats, The Lion King and Mamma Mia. Somehow Fabel found the sleaze
'Did you get
the message that a Professor Dorn has been trying to get in touch?'
asked Werner. 'He said he needed to talk to you about the Kastner
case . . .'
Fabel kept his gaze on the road, as if the act of concentration
would keep at bay the ghosts that stirred, somewhere deep and dark
in his memory.
He just said he was Professor Dorn and you knew him at the Universität
Hamburg. He's very keen to talk to you.'
'What the hell
has Mathias Dorn got to do with the Kastner case?' Fabel's question
was to himself. He turned into Davidstrasse. They passed the narrow
opening of Herbertstrasse, concealed by a baffle of screens. Fabel
had worked this district years ago and knew that beyond the screens
prostitutes sat bleakly illuminated in their windows while the shadowy
forms of browsing customers floated insubstantially in the lamplit
drizzle. Love in the twenty-first century. Fabel drove on, passing
through the pulse of dance music that bled into the night from the
Weisse Maus in Taubenstrasse, and he pulled up outside the red brick
ship's-prow front of the Davidwache police station. A couple sheltered
in the doorway: the man was tall and lanky with sandy hair; the
girl was petite and pretty, with spiky black hair and firetruck-
red lips. She wore an oversized black leather jacket. Seeing them
in this context, Fabel couldn't help thinking just how young they
'Hi Chef,' Kriminalkommissarin
Anna Wolff dropped into the rear seat and slid over, allowing her
partner, Paul Lindemann, to climb in and slam the door after him.
'I got directions from the Davidwache KriPo. I'll tell you where
to go . . .'
They drove out
of Davidstrasse. St Pauli's sham glamour now degraded into sheer
seediness. The garish neon promises of libidinousness had the night
to themselves and reflected bleakly on the rain-soaked pavements.
The occasional pedestrian shambled along, shoulders hunched against
the rain, resisting or accepting beckoned invitations from the spiritlessly
enthusiastic stripclub doormen. Another turn: the descent continued.
Doorways were now occupied either by gaunt and cheerless-looking
prostitutes, some frighteningly young, others unfeasibly old, or
by drunken down-and-outs. From one doorway an animated bundle of
rags slurped from a bottle and yelled obscenities at the passing
cars, at the prostitutes, at everybody and at nobody. And behind
the doors, behind these blank, blind windows, the trade of flesh
was conducted. This was Hamburg's eternal twilight: a place where
human beings could be bought for any purpose and at any price; a
place of dark sexual anarchy where people came to explore the murkiest
corners of their souls.
As part of an
investigation, Fabel had once had to watch a snuff movie. By the
very nature of his job, Fabel usually walked onto the stage after
the act had been concluded. He saw the corpse, the evidence, the
witnesses, and from them had to build a picture of the killing:
a slow envisioning of the moment of death. In this case, for the
first time, Fabel was to become a witness to the crime he was investigating.
He had gazed at the television screen, a vortex of fear and disgust
swirling deep in his gut, as an unsuspecting porno actress performed
her accustomed part with the usual insipid imitation of ecstasy.
Throughout the loveless, crude penetration by three PVC-masked men,
she moaned with transparently fake rapture, unaware of the denouement
of this particular drama. Suddenly, with a swift and skilled single
movement, one of the men tied a leather thong around her neck. Fabel
saw the surprise and vague unease on her face: this was not part
of the script, if these things were ever scripted, but she played
along, miming heightened sexual excitement. Then, as the thong was
tightened, her feigned ecstasy became a genuine terror. Her face
blackened and she thrashed about wildly as her life was squeezed
They had never
caught her killers, and she had joined the accusatory legion of
murdered who marched through Fabel's dreams. The video had been
filmed somewhere near here, behind one of these blank windows.
was being made now, as they passed by.
took Fabel into a residential street lined by four-storey apartment
blocks. The sudden normality made Fabel feel disoriented. Another
turn: more apartments, but this was where the normality ended. A
small crowd had gathered around a police cordon, which in turn encircled
a knot of police vehicles parked outside a squat 1950s apartment
Fabel gave a
blast of his horn and a uniformed Obermeister parted the crowd.
It was the usual mix of nobodies, faces blank or cheerlessly curious,
some in night clothes and slippers, having dashed out from neighbouring
apartments, some lifting themselves on tiptoe or twitching heads
to see past their fellow ghouls. It was perhaps because he was so
used to these crowds that Fabel noticed the old man. As Fabel inched
his car through the huddle he saw him: he was in his late sixties,
short - no taller than one metre sixty-five - but robustly built.
His face seemed like a flat plane edged with sharp angles, particularly
in the high cheekbones beneath the small, penetrating green eyes
- eyes that, even in the insubstantial light from street lamps and
headlights, seemed to gleam bright and cold. It was a face from
the East, from around the Baltic or Poland or beyond. Unlike the
others, the old man's expression held something more than a casual,
morbid half-interest. And unlike the others, he wasn't turned towards
the bustle of police activity outside the apartment building: he
stared directly and intently at Fabel through the side window of
the BMW. The uniformed officer moved between the old man and Fabel's
car, bent over and peered in as Fabel held up his Kriminalpolizei
shield. The uniform saluted and waved to another to lift the tape
and allow Fabel through. When the policeman moved out of the way
again, Fabel tried to find the old man with the luminous eyes, but
he was gone.
'Did you see
that old guy, Werner?'
'What old guy?'
you?' Fabel asked Anna and Paul over his shoulder.
him?' asked Paul.
'Nothing . .
.' Fabel shrugged and drove through to where the other police cars
huddled around the entrance to the building.
There were three
flights of stairs up to the apartment. The stairwell was bathed
in the bleak glow of wall-mounted half globes, one on each landing.
As they climbed, Fabel and his team had to stop and flatten themselves
against the stairwell walls to allow uniformed officers and forensic
technicians to pass. On each occasion they noticed the grim seriousness
on the silent faces, some of which were blanched by something more
than the dismal electric light. Fabel could tell that something
pretty bad waited for them at the top of the stairs.
The young uniformed
policeman stood half bent over in a posture like that of an athlete
who had just completed a marathon run: the tail of his spine resting
against the door frame, his legs slightly bent, his hands spread
out over his knees and his head forward and down. He breathed slowly
and deliberately, staring intently at the floor at his feet as if
absorbing every scratch and scuff on the concrete. He was unaware
of Fabel's presence until the last moment. Fabel held out his oval
Kriminalpolizei shield and the young policeman pulled himself stiffly
upright. When he pushed back his mop of unruly red-blond hair it
revealed a face that was pale behind its constellation of freckles.
Kriminalhauptkommissar, I didn't see you.'
Are you all right?' Fabel looked into the younger man's face and
rested his hand on his shoulder. The young policeman relaxed a bit
and nodded. Fabel smiled. 'This your first murder?'
The young Polizeimeister
looked directly into Fabel's eyes. 'No, Herr Hauptkommissar. Not
the first. The worst . . . I've never seen anything like it.'
I probably have,' said Fabel.
By now, Paul
Lindemann and Anna Wolff had arrived at the top of the stairs and
joined Fabel and Werner. A sceneof- crime officer, wearing his Tatort
tabard, handed each of them a pair of pale blue forensic overshoes
and a pair of white surgical gloves. After they had slipped on the
gloves and overshoes, Fabel indicated the door of the flat with
a movement of his head.
The first thing
Fabel noticed was the freshness of the decoration. It was as if
the short hall had only recently been painted. The colour was like
pale butter: pleasant but bland, neutral, anonymous. There were
three doors off the hall. Immediately to Fabel's left was a bathroom.
A brief glimpse inside revealed it to be compact and, like the hall,
clean and fresh. It seemed almost unused. Fabel noticed that the
scant surfaces and shelves were uncluttered by the knick-knacks
that tend to personalise a bathroom. The second door was opened
wide and revealed what was obviously the main room in the apartment:
a bedroom and living area combined. It too was small, and made even
more cramped by the cluster of police and forensics in it; each
doing his job in a bizarre dance with the others, arms raised, squeezing
past each other in a clumsy ballet. As Fabel entered, he noticed
that each face wore a solemnity that one would expect in such a
situation but which is, in reality, rare. Normally there would be
an element of gallows humour: that inappropriate black levity that
somehow allows those who deal with death to remain untouched by
it. But not these people. Not here. Here death had reached out and
seized them, gripping their hearts with fingers of bone.
When Fabel looked
over to the bed, he saw why. Somewhere behind him Werner muttered,
There was an
explosion of red. A sunburst of blood had encrimsoned the bed and
splashed across the carpet and up the wall. The bed itself was sodden
with dark, sticky blood and even the air seemed heavy with its rich,
copper odour. At the heart of the bloody eruption, Fabel saw the
body of a woman. It was difficult to make out how old, but probably
somewhere between twenty-five and thirty. She was spreadeagled on
the bed, her outstretched wrists and ankles bound to the posts,
her abdomen grotesquely deformed. She had been sliced open through
the chest and the ribs pulled apart and outwards until they looked
like the superstructure of a boat. The bony whiteness of the sheared
ribs shone through the prised-open mess of raw flesh and glistening
dark viscera. Two dark, bloody masses of tissue - her lungs - speckled
with frothy, bright blood, lay thrown out over her shoulders.
It was as if
she had been blown apart from the inside.
pounded so fiercely that he felt as if his chest, too, were going
to burst. He knew his face had blanched white. When Werner made
his way over to him, squeezing past the police photographer, Fabel
saw the same pallor on his face.
'It's him again.
This is bad, Chef. This is really bad. We've got the mother of all
psychos on the loose here.'
For a moment
Fabel found he couldn't direct his gaze away from the corpse. Then,
taking a breath, he turned to Paul.
ask me how this much mayhem could be created without someone hearing,
but this is the way she was found. All we've got is the guy who
found her. No one saw or heard anything.'
'Any signs of
Paul shook his
head. 'The guy who found her said the door was ajar, but no, no
signs of forced entry.'
towards the body. It seemed so cruel that such a violent and terrifying
leaving of her life should go unnoticed. Her terror had been a lonely
terror. Her death - a death he could not imagine, no matter how
graphically it was laid out before him - had been desolate, solitary,
in a universe filled with only the cold violence of her killer.
He looked beyond the devastation of her body to the face. It was
spattered with blood; the mouth gaped slightly and the eyes were
open. There was no look of terror: no fear nor hate nor even peace.
It was an expressionless mask that gave no concept of the personality
that had once lived behind it. Möller, the pathologist, masked
and bunny-suited in his white forensic kit, was examining the sliced-open
abdomen. He gestured impatiently for Fabel to move back.
his attention away from the body. The corpse wasn't just a physical
object, it was a temporal entity: a point in time, an event. It
represented the moment that the murder had been committed and, in
the sealed scene of crime, everything around it belonged either
to the time before or to the time after that moment. He scanned
the room, trying to imagine it without the swirl of police and forensic
technicians. It was small but uncluttered. There was a lack of personality
about it, as if it were a functional space rather than a home. A
small, faded photograph sat on the dressing table by the door, propped
against the lamp; the photograph was conspicuous as the only truly
'personal' personal effect in the room. There was a print on the
wall, a female nude reclining, eyes half closed in an attitude of
erotic ecstasy: not something a woman would usually pick for her
own enjoyment. A wide, full-length mirror, fixed to the wall which
divided the room from the room beyond, which Fabel surmised would
have to be the kitchen, reflected the bed. He noticed a small wicker
bowl on the bedside table: it was filled with condoms of various
colours. He turned to Anna Wolff.
it, although she isn't . . . wasn't anyone Davidwache vice knew
about.' Anna's face was pale beneath the shock of dark hair. Fabel
noticed she was making an effort not to look in the direction of
the devastated corpse. 'But we do know the guy who called in.'
'A guy called
Klugmann. He's ex-Polizei Hamburg.'
'In fact he's
an ex-Mobiles Einsatz Kommando officer. He claims that he was a
friend . . . he has the lease on the flat.'
'The local boys
reckon he must have been her pimp.' It was Paul who answered
on . . .' Fabel's impatient expression implied he held Paul responsible
for his confusion. 'You said this guy is a former Mobiles Einsatz
Kommando member and now he's a pimp?'
'We think he
may well be. He worked with the MEK special-operations unit attached
to the Organised Crime Division, but he was kicked out.'
he developed a taste for the goods.' It was Anna Wolff who answered.
'He was caught with a small amount of cocaine and sacked. He was
charged and got off with a suspended sentence. The Staatsanwalt
prosecutor was cagey about sending an MEK member to prison and anyway
it was only a few grams of coke . . . personal use, he claimed.'
'You seem to
know the story pretty well.'
'While Paul and I were waiting for you at Davidwache, we got the
whole story from one of the guys there. Klugmann was involved in
a couple of raids in St Pauli. Typical surprise attacks on Turkish
Mafia drugs factories by MEK special units. Both times the premises
were as clean as a whistle - they'd obviously been tipped off. Because
they were joint operations with Davidwache KriPo, the MEK tried
to pin the blame on Davidwache for being loose with security. After
Klugmann was busted it all fitted together.'
'He bought his
drugs with something other than cash?'
they reckon. The MEK tried to prove he'd been passing information
on to the Ulugbay organisation but couldn't come up with any hard
got off with a slap on the wrist.'
'Yes. And now
he works in an Ulugbay-owned stripclub.'
'And as a pimp.'
'Like I say,
that's what the local police suspect . . . and more.'
'I can imagine,'
said Fabel. A former special-forces policeman would be incredibly
valuable to Ulugbay: muscle and inside information. 'Should we look
at him as a suspect for this?'
'He needs checking
out but no, I doubt it. Apparently, he was in genuine shock when
the local uniforms got here. We talked to him briefly at Davidwache.
He's a tough-looking son of a bitch but he clearly hadn't worked
out a credible story. Just kept saying he was a friend and had called
around to see her.'
'Do we have
a name for her?'
thing,' Paul answered. 'I'm afraid we have a mystery woman on our
hands. Klugmann says he's only ever known her as "Monique".'
'Is she French?'
Paul half smiled,
looking at Fabel to see if there was any sign of irony in his expression;
he had heard of der englische Kommissar's reputation for a British
sense of humour. No irony. Just impatience. 'Not according to Klugmann.
Sounds like a professional name to me.'
her personal effects. Her identity card?'
the bedside cabinet had already been dusted for prints. He pulled
open one of the drawers. There was an oversized dildo and four pornographic
magazines, one of which specialised in bondage. He looked back at
the body: the wrists and ankles were tied tightly to the posts of
the bed by what looked like black stockings. The choice had been
practical and improvised rather than erotic and premeditated; nor
was there any other evidence of the usual paraphernalia of bondage.
The next drawer held more condoms, a large box of paper tissues
and a bottle of massage oil. The third drawer was empty except for
a pad of writing paper and two ballpoint pens. He turned to the
head of the forensic team.
Brauner?' he asked, referring to the forensic department's chief.
'He's on leave
till the weekend.'
that Brauner had been on duty. Brauner could read a crime scene
like an archaeologist could read a landscape: seeing the traces,
invisible to everyone else, of those who had passed by before. 'Can
one of your guys bag all of this stuff for me?'
'There was nothing
else in this bottom drawer?'
The duty forensics
chief frowned. 'No. Anything we removed for examination and dusting
has been replaced. There was nothing else.'
'Have you found
her appointment book?'
Again the technician
a hooker but not a street girl,' explained Fabel. 'Her customers
will have been by appointment, probably made by phone. She must
have had an appointment book.'
'Not that we've
'My guess is
that, if she had one, it was in here,' said Fabel, nodding to the
open third drawer. 'If we can't find it elsewhere then it's my guess
our guy took it with him.'
himself? You think she's been done by a client?' asked Paul.
'I doubt it.
Our guy - and this is our guy - wouldn't be so dumb as to pick someone
who has prior knowledge of him.'
'So this is
definitely the same guy who did the Kastner girl?'
'Who the hell
else could it be?' answered Werner, nodding towards the corpse.
'This is obviously his signature.'
A silence fell
between them as they each sank into their own thoughts about the
implications of this being the work of a serial killer. They all
knew that they would not close the gap between themselves and this
monster until he had killed again. And more than once. Each scene
of crime would yield a little more: small investigative steps paid
for with the blood of innocent victims. It was Fabel who broke the
our guy didn't take the appointment book with him then maybe Klugmann
swiped it to protect the identities of his clients.'
the pathologist, had remained bent over the body, peering into the
empty chasm of the girl's abdomen. He straightened up, peeled off
his bloodied surgical gloves and turned to the Hauptkommissar.
'This is the
same man's work all right, Fabel . . .' With a surprising gentleness,
Möller swept the blonde hair back from the girl's face. 'Exactly
the same form of killing as the other victim.'
'I can see that
for myself, Möller. When did she die?'
'This kind of
catastrophic dismemberment makes temperature readings -'
Fabel cut him
off. 'Your best guess?'
angled his head backwards. He was a good bit taller than Fabel and
looked down at him as if he were surveying something unworthy of
his attention. 'I would estimate between one and three a.m.'
A tall, blonde
woman, dressed in an elegant grey trouser suit, emerged from the
hall. She looked as if she would be more at home in the boardroom
of a corporate bank than at a murder scene. She was Kriminaloberkommissarin
Maria Klee, Fabel's most recent addition to his team. 'Chef, you'd
better have a look at this.'
her out to the hall and into a small and extremely narrow gallery
kitchen. Like the rest of the flat, the kitchen seemed almost unused.
There was a kettle and a packet of teabags on the counter. A single
rinsed cup lay upturned on the drainer. Otherwise there was no trace
of the mechanics of living: no plates in the sink, no letters sitting
on the counter or on top of the fridge, nothing to suggest that
this space contained the cycle of a human life. Maria Klee indicated
an open wall-cupboard door. When Fabel looked inside he saw that
the plaster of the wall had been cut away and a sheet of glass allowed
a clear view of the room beyond. He found himself looking directly
at the goresodden bed.
'One way?' Fabel
'Yep. The other
side is the full-length mirror. Look at this.' She squeezed past
Fabel, reached her latex-gloved hand into the cupboard and stretched
out an electrical cable. 'I reckon there's been a camera in here.'
'So our guy
could have been caught on video?'
nothing in here now,' said Maria. 'Maybe he found it and took it.'
'Okay. Get the
forensic guys to give it a good going over.'
Fabel made to
leave but Maria stopped him. 'I remember, when I was a kid, my school
went on a day trip to the NDR television studios. We were shown
around a set for some TV show . . . you know, a Lindenstrasse or
Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten type soap opera. I remember how real
the room looked - until you got up close. Then you saw that the
sky beyond the windows was painted and the cupboard doors didn't
open . . .'
here you would expect from a call girl's apartment . . . but it's
like a set designer's idea of what a call girl's apartment should
look like. And it's like no one has really lived here.'
'For all we
know this place wasn't lived in. It could simply be "business"
premises used by a team of girls . . .'
'I know . .
. but there's still something about it that doesn't ring true. Know
what I mean?'
Fabel took a
deep breath and held it for a moment before replying. 'As a matter
of fact I know exactly what you mean, Maria.'
back into the main room. The scene-of-crime photographer was taking
detailed shots of the body. He had set up a lamp on a stand; the
stark light was focused on the corpse, making the blood spattered
across the room even more vivid and adding to the sense of explosive
violence. The young uniformed officer was still standing at the
door, his gaze fixed on the corpse. Fabel placed himself between
the young cop and the body.
Did you speak to any of the neighbours?'
had started to drift across Fabel's shoulder and back to the horror
in the room beyond. He snapped himself back. 'What? Oh . . . yes.
Sorry sir, yes, I did. There's a couple on the ground floor and
an old lady immediately underneath. They didn't hear a thing. But
there again, the Oma underneath is practically deaf.'
'Can they give
us a name for the girl?'
'No. Both the
old lady and the couple say they hardly ever saw her. The flat used
to be owned by another old woman who died about a year ago. It was
empty for about three months and then it was rented out again.'
'Did they see
anyone come or go this evening?'
'No. Other than
the guy who arrived at two-thirty, the guy who phoned us. The couple
on the ground floor were woken up by the front door slamming - it's
on a spring hinge and it closes with a bang that echoes a bit in
the hall . . . but nobody heard anything before that. There again
the couple on the ground floor were asleep and, like I say, the
old lady underneath is a bit deaf.' Beller tilted his head to look
over Fabel's shoulder towards the body. 'Whoever it was is a complete
psycho. Mind you, she was asking for trouble getting mixed up in
this game - bringing back all kinds of pervert off the street.'
up the dog-eared photograph that leaned against the lamp on the
dresser. A worn fragment of someone's life, a real life. It was
as much at home in this spiritless apartment as grit in an eye.
The photograph had been taken in what Fabel guessed to be Hamburg's
Planten un Blomen park on a sunny day. It was an old photograph,
the quality was not good and it had been taken from a distance,
but he could just make out the features of a mousy-haired adolescent
girl, around fourteen. It was a face that was not ugly, not pretty,
but one you would pass in the street without noticing. With her
was an older boy, about nineteen, and a couple in their mid-forties.
There was that feel of familiarity and ease between them that led
instantly to the conclusion that this was a family.
a person,' Fabel answered without looking at the young Polizeimeister,
'still someone's daughter. The question is whose.' He took an evidence
bag out of his jacket pocket and placed the photograph in it. Then
he turned to Möller. 'Give me your report as soon as you can.'
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Click here to buy Blood Eagle (Hardback) at Amazon.co.uk
Klicken Sie hier um Blutadler bei Amazon.de zu bestellen
all material © Craig Russell