Arne Olufsen had slipped through Peter Flemming's fingers.

Peter brooded over this as he boiled an egg for Inge's breakfast. After Arne shook off the surveillance on Bornholm, Peter had said blithely that they would soon pick him up again. Peter's confidence had been badly misplaced. He believed Arne was not cunning enough to get off the island unobserved - and he had been wrong. He did not yet know how Arne had managed it, but there was no doubt he had returned to Copenhagen, for a uniformed policeman had spotted him in the city center. The patrolman had given chase, but Arne had outrun him - and vanished again.

Advertisement

Some kind of espionage was obviously still going on, as Peter's boss, Frederik Juel, had pointed out with icy scorn. "Olufsen is apparently performing evasive maneuvers," he had said.

General Braun had been more blunt. "The killing of Poul Kirke has clearly failed to disable the spy ring," he had said. There had been no further talk of promoting Peter to head of department. "I shall call in the Gestapo."

It was so unfair, Peter thought angrily. He had uncovered this spy ring, found the secret message in the airplane chock, arrested the mechanics, raided the synagogue, arrested Ingemar Gammel, raided the flying school, killed Poul Kirke, and flushed out Arne Olufsen. Yet people such as Juel who had done nothing were able to denigrate his achievements and prevent his getting the recognition that was his due.

But he was not finished yet. "I can find Arne Olufsen," he had said to General Braun last night. Juel had started to object, but Peter had overridden him. "Give me twenty-four hours. If he's not in custody tomorrow night, call in the Gestapo."

-- Advertisement --

Braun had agreed.

Arne had not returned to barracks, nor was he with his parents on Sande, so he had to be hiding out at the home of a fellow spy. But they would all be lying low. However, one person who probably knew most of the spies was Karen Duchwitz. She had been Poul's girlfriend, and her brother was at school with Poul's cousin. She was not a spy, Peter felt sure, so she had no reason to lie low. She might lead Peter to Arne.

It was a long shot, but it was all he had.

He mashed the soft-boiled egg up with salt and a little butter, then took the tray into the bedroom. He sat Inge up and gave her a spoonful of egg. He got the feeling she did not much like it. He tasted it, and it was fine, so he gave her another spoonful. After a moment she pushed it out of her mouth, like a baby. The egg ran down her chin and onto the bodice of her nightdress.

Peter stared in despair. She had made a mess of herself several times in the past week or two. This was a new development. "Inge would never have done that," he said.

He put the tray down, left her, and went to the phone. He dialed the hotel on Sande and asked for his father, who was always at work early. When he got through, he said, "You were right. It's time to put Inge in a home."

Peter studied the Royal Theatre, a domed nineteenth-century building of yellow stone. Its facade was carved with columns, pilasters, capitals, corbels, wreaths, shields, lyres, masks, cherubs, mermaids, and angels. On the roof were urns, torcheres, and four-legged creatures with wings and human breasts. "It's a bit overdone," he said. "Even for a theater."

Tilde Jespersen laughed.

They were sitting on the verandah of the Hotel d'Angleterre. They had a good view across the Kongens Nytorv, the largest square in Copenhagen. Inside the theater, the students of the ballet school were watching a dress rehearsal of Les Sylphides, the current production. Peter and Tilde were waiting for Karen Duchwitz to come out.

Tilde was pretending to read today's newspaper. The front-page headline said: "LENINGRAD AFLAME." Even the Nazis were surprised at how well the Russian campaign was going, saying their success "baffled the imagination."

Peter was talking to release tension. So far, his plan was a complete failure. Karen had been under surveillance all day and had done nothing but go to school. But fruitless anxiety was debilitating, and led to mistakes, so he tried to relax. He said, "Do you think architects deliberately make theaters and opera houses intimidating, to discourage ordinary people from going in?"

"Do you consider yourself an ordinary person?"

"Of course." The entrance was flanked by two green statues of sitting figures, larger than life-size. "Who are those two?"

"Holberg and Oehlenschlager."

He recognized the names. They were both great Danish playwrights. "I don't much like drama - too many speeches. I'd rather see a movie, something to make me laugh, Buster Keaton or Laurel and Hardy. Did you see the one where these guys are whitewashing a room, and someone comes in carrying a plank on his shoulder?" He chuckled at the recollection. "I nearly fell on the damn floor laughing."

She gave him one of her enigmatic looks. "Now you have surprised me. I wouldn't have put you down as a lover of slapstick."

"What did you imagine I would like?"

"Western movies, where gunplay ensures that justice is triumphant."

"You're right, I like those, too. What about you? Do you enjoy theater? Copenhageners approve of culture in theory, but most of them have never been inside that building."

"I like opera - do you?"

"Well . . . the tunes are okay but the stories are silly."

She smiled. "I've never thought of it that way, but you're right. How about ballet?"

"I don't really see the point. And the costumes are peculiar. To tell the truth, I find the men's tights a bit embarrassing."

She laughed again. "Oh, Peter, you're so funny, but I like you all the same."

He had not intended to be amusing, but he accepted the compliment cheerfully. He glanced down at the photograph in his hand. He had taken it from Poul Kirke's bedroom. It showed Poul sitting on a bicycle with Karen perched on the crossbar. They were both wearing shorts. Karen had wonderful long legs. They looked such a happy couple, full of energy and fun, that for a moment Peter felt sad that Poul had died. He had to remind himself sternly that Poul had chosen to be a spy and to flout the law.

The purpose of the photo was to help him identify Karen. She was attractive, with a big smile and masses of curly hair. She seemed the antithesis of Tilde, who had small, neat features in a round face. Some of the men said Tilde was frigid, because she repelled their advances - but I know better, Peter thought.

They had not talked about the fiasco in the hotel on Bornholm. Peter was too embarrassed to raise it. He was not going to apologize - that would just be further humiliation. But a plan was forming in his mind, something so dramatic he preferred to think about it only vaguely.

"Here she comes," said Tilde.

Peter looked across the square and saw a group of young people emerging from the theater. He picked out Karen immediately. She was wearing a straw boater at a jaunty angle and a mustard yellow summer dress with a flared skirt that danced enticingly around her knees. The black-and-white photograph had not shown her white skin and flaming red hair, nor had it done justice to the spirited air that was obvious to Peter even at a distance. She looked as if she were making an entrance on the stage of the theater, rather than merely walking down the steps outside.

She crossed the square and turned into the main drag, the Stroget.

Peter and Tilde stood up.

"Before we go," Peter said.

"What?"

"Will you come to my apartment this evening?"

"Any special reason?"

"Yes, but I'd rather not explain."

"All right."

"Thanks." He said no more, but hurried after Karen. Tilde followed him at a distance, by prearrangement.

The Stroget was a narrow street crowded with shoppers and buses, frequently blocked by illegally parked cars. Double the fines and ticket every car and the problem would go away, Peter felt sure. He kept Karen's straw hat in sight. He prayed she was not simply heading for home.

At the end of the Stroget was the town hall square. Here the group of students dispersed. Karen walked on with just one of the girls, chatting animatedly. Peter drew closer. They passed the Tivoli Garden and stopped, as if about to part company, but continued their conversation. They looked pretty and carefree in the afternoon sunshine. Peter wondered impatiently how much more two girls could have to say to each other after having spent all day together.

At last Karen's friend walked toward the main railway station and Karen went the opposite way. Peter's hopes rose. Did she have a rendezvous with one of the circle of spies? He followed her, but to his dismay she approached Vesterport, a suburban railway station from which she could catch a train to her home village of Kirstenslot.

This was no good. He had only a few hours left. Clearly she was not going to lead him to one of the circle. He would have to force the situation.

He caught up with her at the entrance to the station. "Excuse me," he said. "I must speak to you."

She gave him a level look and kept walking. "What is it?" she said with cool politeness.

"Could we talk for just a minute?"

She passed through the entrance and started down the steps to the platform. "We're talking."

He pretended to be nervous. "I'm taking a terrible risk just speaking to you."

That got to her. She stopped on the platform and glanced around nervously. "What's this about?"

She had wonderful eyes, he noticed: a striking clear green. "It's about Arne Olufsen." He saw fear in those eyes, and was gratified. His instinct had been right. She knew something.

"What about him?" She managed to keep her voice low and even.

"Aren't you a friend of his?"

"No. I've met him - I used to go out with a friend of his. But I don't really know him. Why are you asking me?"

"Do you know where he is?"

"No."

She spoke firmly, and he thought with dismay that she looked as if she was telling the truth.

But he was not yet ready to give up. "Could you get a message to him?"

She hesitated, and Peter's heart leaped with hope. He guessed she was wondering whether to lie or not. "Possibly," she said after a moment. "I can't be sure. What sort of message?"

"I'm with the police."

She took a frightened step back.

"It's all right, I'm on your side." He could tell that she did not know whether to believe him. "I'm nothing to do with the Security Department, I do road accidents. But our office is next to theirs, and sometimes I hear what's going on."

"What have you heard?"

"Arne is in great danger. The Security Department know where he's hiding."

"My God."

Peter noted that she did not ask what the Security Department was, or what crime Arne was supposed to have committed, and she showed no surprise about his being in hiding. She must therefore know what Arne was up to, he concluded with a sense of triumph.

On that basis, he could arrest and interrogate her. But he had a better plan. He put a note of dramatic urgency into his voice. "They're going to arrest him tonight."

"Oh, no!"

"If you know how to reach Arne, please, for God's sake, try to get a warning to him in the next hour."

"I don't think - "

"I can't risk being seen with you. I have to go. I'm sorry. Do your best." He turned and walked rapidly away.

At the top of the steps he passed Tilde, who was pretending to read a timetable. She did not look at him, but he knew she had seen him, and she would now follow Karen.

Across the street, a man in a leather apron was unloading crates of beer from a wagon drawn by two big horses. Peter stepped behind the cart. He took off his trilby hat, stuffed it inside his jacket, and replaced it with a peaked cap. He knew from experience that this simple switch effected a remarkable change in his appearance. It would not defy careful scrutiny, but at a casual glance he looked like a different person.

Standing half concealed by the wagon, he watched the station entrance. After a few moments, Karen came out.

Tilde was a few paces behind her.

Peter followed Tilde. They turned a corner and walked along the street that lay between the Tivoli and the main railway station. On the next block, Karen turned in to the main post office, a grand classical building of redbrick and gray stone. Tilde followed her in.

She was going to make a phone call, Peter thought with exhilaration. He ran to the staff entrance. He showed his police badge to the first person he met, a young woman, and said, "Bring the duty manager, quick."

A few moments later, a stooped man in a well-worn black suit appeared. "How may I help you?"

"A young woman in a yellow dress has just entered the main hall," Peter told him. "I don't want her to see me, but I need to know what she does."

The manager looked thrilled. This was probably the most exciting thing that had ever happened in the post office, Peter thought. "My goodness," said the man. "You'd better come with me."

He hurried along a corridor and opened a door. Peter could see a counter with a row of stools facing small windows. The manager stepped through the door. "I think I see her," he said. "Curly red hair and a straw hat?"

"That's the one."

"I'd never have guessed she was a criminal."

"What is she doing?"

"Looking in the telephone directory. Amazing that someone so pretty - "

"If she makes a call, I need to listen."

The manager hesitated.

Peter had no right to listen to private phone calls without a warrant - but he was hoping the manager would not know that. "It's very important," he said.

"I'm not sure I can - "

"Don't worry, I'll take responsibility."

"She's putting the phone book down."

Peter was not going to let Karen phone Arne without listening in. If necessary he would pull his gun and threaten this dozy post office clerk, he decided. "I must insist."

"We have rules here."

"Nevertheless - "

"Ah!" said the manager. "She's put the book down, but she's not coming to the counter." His face cleared with relief. "She's leaving!"

Peter cursed with frustration and ran for the exit.

He cracked the door and peeped out. He saw Karen crossing the road. He waited until Tilde emerged, following Karen. Then he tagged along.

He was disappointed, but not defeated. Karen knew the name of someone who could get in touch with Arne. She had looked that name up in the phone book. Why the hell had she not phoned the person? Perhaps she feared - rightly - that the conversation might be overheard by police or German security staff doing routine surveillance.

Still, if she had not wanted the phone number, she must have been looking for the address. And now, if Peter's luck was in, she was heading for that address.

He let Karen get out of sight but kept Tilde in view. Walking behind Tilde was always a pleasure. It was good to have an excuse to watch her rounded rear. Did she know he was staring at her? Was she exaggerating the sway of her hips deliberately? He had no idea. Who could tell what was in a woman's mind?

They crossed to the small island of Christiansborg and followed the waterfront, with the harbor on their right and the ancient buildings of the government island on their left. The sun-warmed air of the city was refreshed here by a salty breeze from the Baltic Sea. The broad channel of water was lined by freighters, fishing boats, ferries, and ships of the Danish and German navies. Two young sailors fell in behind Tilde and cheerfully tried to pick her up, but she spoke sharply to them and they peeled off immediately.

Karen walked as far as the palace of Amalienborg, then turned inland. Following Tilde, Peter crossed the wide square formed by the four rococo mansions where the royal family lived. From there they headed into Nyboder, a neighborhood of small houses originally built as cheap accommodation for sailors.

They entered a street called St. Paul's Gade. Peter could see Karen in the distance, looking at a row of yellow houses with red roofs, apparently searching for a number. He had a strong, exciting feeling of being close to his quarry.

Karen paused and looked up and down the street, as if checking whether she was observed. It was far too late for that, of course, but she was an amateur. In any case, she did not appear to register Tilde, and Peter was too far away to be recognized.

She knocked on a door.

As Peter caught up with Tilde, the door opened. He could not see who was there. Karen said something and stepped inside, and the door closed. It was number fifty-three, Peter noted.

Tilde said, "Do you think Arne is in there?"

"Either him, or someone who knows where he is."

"What do you want to do?"

"Wait." He looked up and down the street. On the opposite side was a corner shop. "Over there." They crossed the road and stood looking in the window. Peter lit a cigarette.

Tilde said, "The shop probably has a phone. Should we call headquarters? We might as well go in in force. We don't know how many spies might be in there."

Peter considered summoning reinforcements. "Not yet," he said. "We're not sure what's happening. Let's see how this develops."

Tilde nodded. She removed her sky blue beret and put a nondescript patterned scarf over her head. Peter watched her tuck the curls of her fair hair under the scarf. She would look somewhat different when Karen came out of the house, so that Karen was less likely to notice her.

Tilde took the cigarette from Peter's fingers, put it to her own mouth, drew in smoke, and handed the cigarette back. It was an intimate gesture, and he felt almost as if she had kissed him. He sensed that he was blushing, and looked away, toward number fifty-three.

The door opened and Karen came out.

"Look," he said, and Tilde followed his gaze.

The door closed behind Karen and she walked away alone.

"Damn," Peter said.

"What do we do now?" Tilde asked.

Peter thought fast. Suppose Arne was inside the little yellow house. Then Peter needed to summon reinforcements, bust into the house, and arrest him and anyone with him. On the other hand, Arne might be somewhere else, and Karen could be on her way there - in which case Peter needed to follow her.

Or she might have failed in her quest and decided to give up and go home.

He made a decision. "We'll split up," he told Tilde. "You follow Karen. I'll call headquarters and raid that house."

"Okay." Tilde hurried after Karen.

Peter went into the shop. It was a general store, selling vegetables and bread and household necessities such as soap and matches. There were cans of food on the shelves, and the floor was obstructed by bundles of firewood and sacks of potatoes. The place looked dirty but prosperous. He showed his police badge to a gray-haired woman in a stained apron. "Do you have a phone?"

"I'll have to charge you."

He fumbled in his pocket for change. "Where is it?" he said impatiently. She jerked her head toward a curtain at the back. "Through there."

He threw some coins on the counter and passed into a small parlor that smelled of cats. He snatched up the phone, called the Politigaarden, and got Conrad. "I think I may have found Arne's hideout. Number fifty-three St. Paul's Gade. Get Dresler and Ellegard and come here in a car as fast as you can."

"Right away," said Conrad.

Peter hung up and hurried outside. He had been less than a minute. If anyone had left the house during that time, they should still be visible on the street. He looked up and down. He saw an old man in a collarless shirt walking an arthritic dog, the two of them moving with painful slowness. A lively pony was drawing a flatbed cart carrying a sofa with holes in the leather upholstery. A group of boys were playing football in the road, using an old tennis ball worn bald with use. There was no sign of Arne. He crossed the street.

Indulging himself for a moment, he thought how satisfying it would be to arrest the elder son of the Olufsen family. What a revenge that would be for the humiliation of Axel Flemming all those years ago. Coming immediately after the expulsion from school of the younger son, the unmasking of Arne as a spy would surely mean the end of Pastor Olulfsen's hegemony. How could he strut and preach when both his sons had gone wrong? He would have to resign.

Peter's father would be pleased.

The door of number fifty-three opened. Peter reached under his jacket and touched the grip of his gun in its shoulder holster as Arne stepped out of the house.

Peter was filled with elation. Arne had shaved off his moustache and covered his black hair with a workman's cap, but Peter had known him all his life, and recognized him immediately.

After a moment, triumph was replaced by caution. There was often trouble when a lone officer tried to make an arrest. The possibility of escape looked tempting to the suspect who was up against only one cop. Being a plainclothes detective, lacking the authority of a uniform, made it worse. If there was a fight, passers-by had no way of knowing that one of the two was an officer, and might even intervene on the wrong side.

Peter and Arne had fought once before, twelve years ago, at the time of the quarrel between their families. Peter was bigger, but Arne was fit and strong from all the sports he did. There was no clear result. They had traded several blows then been separated. Today Peter had a gun. But perhaps Arne did, too.

Arne slammed the house door and turned onto the street, walking toward Peter.

As they came closer, Arne avoided his eye, walking on the inside of the pavement, near the house walls, in the manner of a fugitive. Peter walked on the curbside, furtively watching Arne's face.

When they were ten yards apart, Arne stole a glance at Peter's face. Peter met his eye, watching his expression. He saw a frown of puzzlement, then recognition, then shock, fear, and panic.

Arne stopped, momentarily frozen.

"You're under arrest," Peter said.

Arne partly recovered his composure, and for a moment the familiar careless grin flickered across his face. "Gingerbread Pete," he said, using a childhood nickname.

Peter saw that Arne was about to make a run for it. He drew his gun. "Lie on the ground facedown with your hands behind your back."

Arne looked worried rather than frightened. In a moment of insight, Peter saw that it was not the gun Arne was scared of, but something else.

Arne said in a challenging tone, "Are you ready to shoot me?"

"If necessary," Peter said. He leveled the gun threateningly, but in truth he was desperate to take Arne alive. Poul Kirke's death had dead-ended the investigation. He wanted to interrogate Arne, not kill him.

Arne smiled enigmatically, then turned and ran.

Peter held his gun arm straight and sighted along the barrel. He aimed at Arne's legs, but it was impossible to shoot accurately with a pistol, and he knew he might hit any part of Arne's body, or none. But Arne was getting farther away, and Peter's chances of stopping him were diminishing with every split second that passed.

Peter pulled the trigger.

Arne kept running.

Peter fired again repeatedly. After the fourth shot, Arne seemed to stagger. Peter fired again, and Arne fell, hitting the ground with the heavy thud of a dead weight, rolling onto his back.

"Oh, Christ, no, not again," Peter said.

He ran forward, still pointing the gun at Arne.

The figure on the ground lay still.

Peter knelt beside it.

Arne opened his eyes. His face was white with pain. "You stupid pig, you should have killed me," he said.

Tilde came to Peter's apartment that evening. She was wearing a new pink blouse with flowers embroidered on the cuffs. Pink suited her, Peter thought. It brought out her femininity. The weather was warm, and she seemed to have nothing on under the blouse.

He showed her into the living room. The evening sun shone in, lighting the room with a weird glow, giving a fuzzy edge to the furniture and the pictures on the walls. Inge sat in a chair by the fireplace, gazing into the room with the expressionless look she always wore.

Peter drew Tilde to him and kissed her. She froze for a moment, surprised, then she kissed him back. He stroked her shoulders and her hips.

She pulled back and looked in his face. He could see desire in her eyes, but she was troubled. She glanced at Inge. "Is this all right?" she said.

He touched her hair. "Hush." He kissed her again, hungrily. They became more passionate. Without breaking the kiss, he unbuttoned her blouse, exposing her soft breasts. He stroked the warm skin.

She pulled away again, breathing hard. Her breasts rose and fell as she panted. "What about her?" she said. "What about Inge?"

Peter looked at his wife. She was regarding the two of them with a blank stare, showing no emotion at all, as always. "There's no one there," he told Tilde. "No one there at all."

She looked into his eyes. Her face showed compassion and understanding mingled with curiosity and lust. "All right," she said. "All right."

He bent his head to her naked breasts.

-- Advertisement --