In the middle of the Politigaarden, Copenhagen's police headquarters, was a spacious circular courtyard open to the sunshine. It was ringed by an arcade with classical double pillars in a perfect repeating pattern. To Peter Flemming, the design stood for the way order and regularity permitted the light of truth to shine in on human wickedness. He often wondered whether the architect had intended that, or had just thought a courtyard might look nice.

He and Tilde Jespersen stood in the arcade, leaning against a pair of pillars, smoking cigarettes. Tilde wore a sleeveless blouse that showed the smooth skin of her arms. She had fine blond hair on her forearms. "The Gestapo have finished with Jens Toksvig," he told her.



"Nothing." He felt exasperated, and he shook his shoulders as if to shrug off the feeling of frustration. "He has told everything he knows, of course. He is one of the Nightwatchmen, he passed information to Poul Kirke, and he agreed to shelter Arne Olufsen when Arne was on the run. He also said that this whole project had been organized by Arne's fiancee, Hermia Mount, who is with MI6 back in England."

"Interesting - but it doesn't get us anywhere."

"Exactly. Unfortunately for us, Jens doesn't know who sneaked into the base on Sande, and he has no knowledge of the film Harald developed."

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Tilde drew in smoke. Peter watched her mouth. She seemed to be kissing the cigarette. She inhaled, then blew smoke out through her nostrils. "Arne killed himself to protect someone," she said. "I assume that person has the film."

"His brother Harald either has it or has passed it to someone else. Either way, we have to talk to him."

"Where is he?"

"At the parsonage on Sande, I assume. It's the only home he's got." He looked at his watch. "I'm catching a train in an hour."

"Why not phone?"

"I don't want to give him the chance to run away."

Tilde looked troubled. "What will you say to the parents? Don't you think they might blame you for what happened to Arne?"

"They don't know I was there when Arne shot himself. They don't even know I arrested him."

"I suppose not," she said dubiously.

"Anyway, I don't give a shit what they think," Peter said impatiently. "General Braun hit the roof when I told him that the spies may have photographs of the base on Sande. God knows what the Germans have there but it's deadly secret. And he blames me. If that film leaves Denmark, I don't know what he'll do to me."

"But you're the one who uncovered the spy ring!"

"And I almost wish I hadn't." He dropped his cigarette end and stamped on it, grinding it with the sole of his shoe. "I'd like you to come to Sande with me."

Her clear blue eyes gave him an appraising look. "Of course, if you want my help."

"And I'd like you to meet my parents."

"Where would I stay?"

"I know a small hotel in Morlunde, quiet and clean, that I think would suit you." His father owned a hotel, of course, but that was too close to home. If Tilde stayed there, the entire population of Sande would know what she was doing every minute of the day.

Peter and Tilde had not spoken about what had happened in his apartment, even though it was six days ago. He was not sure what to say. He had felt driven to do it, to have sex with Tilde in front of Inge, and Tilde had gone along with it, sharing his passion and seeming to understand his need. Afterward, she had seemed troubled, and he had driven her home and left her with a good-night kiss.

They had not repeated it. Once was enough to prove whatever he had to prove. He had gone to Tilde's apartment the following evening, but her son had been awake, asking for drinks of water and complaining of bad dreams, and Peter had left early. Now he saw the trip to Sande as a chance to get her alone.

But she seemed to hesitate. She asked another practical question: "What about Inge?"

"I'll get the nursing agency to provide twenty-four-hour cover, as I did when we went to Bornholm."

"I see."

She looked across the courtyard, considering, and he studied her profile: the small nose, the bow-shaped mouth, the determined chin. He remembered the overwhelming thrill of possessing her. Surely she could not have forgotten that. He said, "Don't you want to spend a night together?"

She turned to him with a smile. "Of course I do," she said. "I'd better go and pack a case."

On the following morning, Peter woke up in the Oesterport Hotel in Morlunde. The Oesterport was a respectable establishment but its owner, Erland Berten, was not married to the woman who called herself Mrs. Berten. Erland had a wife in Copenhagen who would not give him a divorce. No one in Morlunde knew this except Peter Flemming, who had discovered it by chance, while investigating the murder of one Jacob Berten, who was no relation. Peter had let Erland know he had found out about the real Mrs. Berten, but had otherwise kept the news to himself, knowing that the secret gave him power over Erland. Now he could rely on Erland's discretion. Whatever happened between Peter and Tilde in the Oesterport Hotel, Erland would tell no one.

However, Peter and Tilde had not slept together in the end. Their train had been delayed, and had finally arrived in the middle of the night, long after the last ferry to Sande. Weary and bad-tempered after the frustrating journey, they had checked in to separate single rooms and grabbed a couple of hours' sleep. Now they were going to catch the first ferry of the morning.

He dressed quickly then went and tapped on Tilde's door. She was putting on a straw hat, looking in the mirror over the fireplace as she adjusted it. He kissed her cheek, not wanting to spoil her makeup.

They walked down to the harbor. A local policeman and a German soldier asked them for their identity cards as they boarded the ferry. The checkpoint was new. Peter guessed it was an additional security precaution brought in by the Germans because of the spies' interest in Sande. But it could be useful to Peter, too. He showed his police badge and asked them to write down the names of everyone visiting the island over the next few days. It would be interesting to see who came to Arne's funeral.

On the other side of the channel, the hotel's horse-drawn taxi was waiting for them. Peter told the driver to take them to the parsonage.

The sun was edging up over the horizon, gleaming off the little windows of the low houses. There had been rain overnight, and the coarse grass of the sand dunes glistened with droplets. A light breeze ruffled the surface of the sea. The island seemed to have put on its best clothes for Tilde's visit. "What a pretty place," she said. He was glad she liked it. He pointed out the sights as they drove: the hotel, his father's house - the largest on the island - and the military base that was the target of the spy ring.

Approaching the parsonage, Peter noticed that the door to the little church stood open, and he heard a piano. "That might be Harald," he said. He heard the excitement in his own voice. Could it be this easy? He coughed, and made his voice deeper and calmer. "Let's see, shall we?"

They dismounted from the buggy. The driver said, "What time shall I come back, Mr. Flemming?"

"Wait here, please," Peter said.

"I've got other customers - "

"Just wait!"

The driver muttered something under his breath.

Peter said, "If you're not here when I come out, you're fired." The driver looked sulky, but he stayed put.

Peter and Tilde entered the church. At the far end of the room a tall figure was seated at the piano. He had his back to the door, but Peter knew the broad shoulders and domed head. It was Bruno Olufsen, Harald's father.

Peter winced with disappointment. He was hungry for this arrest. He must be careful not to let his need take control.

The pastor was playing a slow hymn tune in a minor key. Peter glanced at Tilde and saw that she looked sorrowful. "Don't be fooled," he murmured. "The old tyrant is as hard as gunmetal."

The verse ended and Olufsen began another. Peter was not willing to wait. "Pastor!" he said loudly.

The pastor did not stop playing immediately, but finished the line, and let the music hang in the air for a moment. Finally he turned around. "Young Peter," he said in a flat voice.

Peter was momentarily shocked to see that the pastor seemed to have aged. His face was lined with weariness and his blue eyes had lost their icy glitter. After an instant of surprise, Peter said, "I'm looking for Harald."

"I didn't imagine this was a condolence call," the pastor said coldly.

"Is he here?"

"Is this an official inquiry?"

"Why do you ask? Is Harald involved in some wrongdoing?"

"Certainly not."

"I'm glad to hear it. Is he in the house?"

"No. He's not on the island. I don't know where he went."

Peter looked at Tilde. This was a letdown - but, on the other hand, it suggested that Harald was guilty. Why else would he disappear? "Where do you think he might be?"

"Go away."

Arrogant as ever - but this time the pastor was not going to get away with it, Peter thought with relish. "Your elder son killed himself because he was caught spying," he said harshly.

The pastor flinched as if Peter had struck him.

Peter heard Tilde gasp beside him, and realized he had shocked her by his cruelty, but he pressed on. "Your younger son may be guilty of similar crimes. You're in no position to act high and mighty with the police."

The pastor's normally proud face looked hurt and vulnerable. "I've told you that I don't know where Harald is," he said dully. "Do you have any other questions?"

"What are you hiding?"

The pastor sighed. "You're one of my flock, and if you come to me for spiritual help I won't turn you away. But I will not speak to you for any other reason. You're arrogant and cruel, and as near worthless as one of God's creatures can be. Get out of my sight."

"You can't throw people out of the church - it doesn't belong to you."

"If you want to pray, you're welcome here. Otherwise, go away."

Peter hesitated. He did not want to submit to being thrown out, but he knew he had been defeated. After a moment he took Tilde's arm and led her outside. "I told you he was hard," he said.

Tilde seemed shaken. "I think the man is in pain."

"No doubt. But was he telling the truth?"

"Obviously Harald has gone into hiding - which means almost certainly that he has the film."

"So we have to find him." Peter reflected on the conversation. "I wonder if his father really doesn't know where he is."

"Have you ever known the pastor to lie?"

"No - but he might make an exception to protect his son."

Tilde made a dismissive gesture. "We're not going to get anything out of him, either way."

"I agree. But we're on the right track, that's the main thing. Let's try the mother. She at least is made of flesh and blood."

They went to the house. Peter steered Tilde to the back. He tapped on the kitchen door and went in without waiting for an answer, as was usual on the island.

Lisbeth Olufsen was sitting at the kitchen table, doing nothing. Peter had never in his life seen her idle: she was always cooking or cleaning. Even in church she was busy, straightening rows of chairs, putting out hymn books or gathering them up, stoking the peat boiler that warmed the big room in winter. Now she sat looking at her hands. The skin was cracked and raw in places, like a fisherman's.

"Mrs. Olufsen?"

She turned her face to him. Her eyes were red and her cheeks were drawn. After a moment, she recognized him. "Hello, Peter," she said expressionlessly.

He decided to take a softer approach with her. "I'm sorry about Arne."

She nodded vaguely.

"This is my friend Tilde. We work together."

"Pleased to meet you."

He sat at the table and nodded to Tilde to do the same. Perhaps a simple, practical question would bring Mrs. Olufsen out of her daze. "When is the funeral?"

She thought for a moment, then answered, "Tomorrow."

That was better.

"I've spoken to the pastor," Peter said. "We saw him in the church."

"His heart is broken. He doesn't show it to the world, though."

"I understand. Harald must be dreadfully upset, too."

She glanced at him and looked quickly down at her hands again. It was the briefest of looks, but Peter read fear and deceit in it. She muttered, "We haven't spoken to Harald."

"Why is that?"

"We don't know where he is."

Peter could not tell whether she was lying from moment to moment, but he felt sure of her intention to deceive. It angered him that the pastor and his wife, who pretended to be morally superior to others, should deliberately hide the truth from the police. He raised his voice. "You'd be well advised to cooperate with us!"

Tilde put a restraining hand on his arm and looked an inquiry at him. He nodded for her to go ahead. She said, "Mrs. Olufsen, I'm sorry to have to tell you that Harald may have been involved in the same illegal activities as Arne."

Mrs. Olufsen looked frightened.

Tilde continued, "The longer he goes on, the worse trouble he'll be in when finally we catch up with him."

The old woman shook her head from side to side, looking distressed, but she said nothing.

"If you would help us find him, you'd be doing the best thing for him."

"I don't know where he is," she repeated, but less firmly.

Peter sensed weakness. He stood up and leaned across the kitchen table, pushing his face into hers. "I saw Arne die," he said gratingly.

Mrs. Olufsen's eyes widened in horror.

"I saw your son put the gun to his own throat and pull the trigger," he went on.

Tilde said, "Peter, no - "

He ignored her. "I saw his blood and brains spatter the wall behind him."

Mrs. Olufsen cried out with shock and grief.

She was about to crack, Peter saw with satisfaction. He pressed his advantage. "Your elder son was a spy and a criminal, and he met a violent end. They that live by the sword shall die by the sword, that's what the Bible says. Do you want the same to happen to your other son?"

"No," she whispered. "No."

"Then tell me where he is!"

The kitchen door burst open and the pastor strode in. "You filth," he said.

Peter straightened up, startled but defiant. "I'm entitled to question - "

"Get out of my house."

Tilde said, "Let's go, Peter."

"I still want to know - "

"Now!" the pastor roared. "Leave now!" He advanced around the table.

Peter backed away. He knew he should not allow himself to be shouted down. He was on legitimate police business and he had a right to ask questions. But the towering presence of the pastor scared him, despite the gun under his jacket, and he found himself reversing steadily to the door.

Tilde opened it and went out.

"I haven't finished with you two," Peter said feebly as he backed through the doorway.

The pastor slammed the door in his face.

Peter turned away. "Damned hypocrites," he said. "The pair of them."

The buggy was waiting. "To my father's house," Peter said, and they got in.

As they drove away, he tried to put the humiliating scene out of his mind and concentrate on his next steps. "Harald must be living somewhere," he said.

"Obviously." Tilde's tone was curt, and he guessed she was distressed by what she had just witnessed.

"He's not at school and he's not at home, and he has no relations except for some cousins in Hamburg."

"We could circulate a picture of him."

"We'll have trouble finding one. The pastor doesn't believe in photos - they're a sign of vanity. You didn't see any pictures in that kitchen, did you?"

"What about a school photo?"

"Not a Jansborg tradition. The only picture of Arne we could find was the one in his army record. I doubt there's a photo of Harald anywhere."

"So what's our next move?"

"I think he's staying with friends - don't you?"

"Makes sense."

She would not look at him. He sighed. She was in a bad mood with him. So be it. "This is what you do," he said in a tone of command. "Call the Politigaarden. Send Conrad to Jansborg Skole. Get a list of the home addresses of all the boys in Harald's class. Then have someone call at each house, ask a few questions, snoop around a bit."

"They must be all over Denmark. It would take a month to visit them all. How much time do we have?"

"Very little. I don't know how long it will take for Harald to figure out a way to get the film to London, but he's a cunning young villain. Use local police where necessary."

"Very well."

"If he's not staying with friends, he must be hiding out with another member of the spy ring. We're going to stay for the funeral and see who shows up. We'll check out every mourner. One of them must know where Harald is."

The buggy slowed as it approached the entrance to Axel Flemming's house. Tilde said, "Do you mind if I go back to the hotel?"

His parents were expecting them for lunch, but Peter could see that Tilde was not in the mood. "All right." He tapped the driver on the shoulder. "Go to the ferry dock."

They drove in silence for a while. As they approached the dock, Peter said, "What will you do at the hotel?"

"In fact I think I should return to Copenhagen."

That made him angry. As the horse stopped at the quayside, he said, "What the hell is wrong with you?"

"I didn't like what just happened."

"We had to do it!"

"I'm not sure."

"It was our duty to try to make those people tell what they knew."

"Duty isn't everything."

She had said that during their argument about Jews, he recalled. "That's just playing with words. Duty is what you have to do. You can't make exceptions. That's what's wrong with the world."

The ferry was in dock. Tilde got down from the buggy. "It's just life, Peter, that's all."

"It's why we have crime! Wouldn't you rather live in a world where everyone did their duty? Just imagine it! Well-behaved people in smart uniforms getting things done, with no slacking, no lateness, no half-measures. If all crimes were punished and no excuses accepted there would be a lot less for the police to do!"

"Is that really what you want?"

"Yes - and if I ever get to be chief of police, and the Nazis are still running things, that's what it will be like! What's wrong with that?"

She nodded, but did not answer his question. "Goodbye, Peter," she said.

As she walked away he shouted after her, "Well? What's wrong with it?" But she boarded the ferry without turning around.

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