Tag Archives: Kristiansand

Afterword

I’ve written a novel in just over a month and that’s a fact I’m quite shocked by. But I’m proud too and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the story as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
The fact that it got done on time is actually quite a miracle. I wrote this story under less than favourable living conditions in Lagos. And both food poisoning, a record high of mosquito bites and some other tropical ailments at times made the process rather irksome. Due to irregular power supplies which also destroyed two laptop chargers, I wasn’t always sure whether the episodes would be done on time.

The next step now, is to edit the episodes. Improve the language, get rid of inconsistencies and strengthen some of the weaker points. And when that’s done, I’m hoping to get this thing published.

A list of thanks are of course in order. First and foremost I need to thank my secretary Elisabeth who invited me to her home in Homborsund where she took me to all the places you’ve read about in the story. Elisabeth also helped with historical facts, proof reading and publishing the episodes when I had no internet access. Thanks too, to my people in Lagos who went to the market to buy new laptop chargers and generally made sure I was fed, hydrated and medicated,making it physically possible to write.

Nellevine, the house ghost in Elisabeth’s hous,in Homborsund for being the inspiration to the story needs thanks, or else, she’ll haunt me forever, in an unpleasant way I’m sure. I have felt her presence too. And I’m not the only one.I sometimes had the feeling she was feeding me the story and helping my circumstances, turning them in my favour.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank my readers around the world for getting hooked on the story and encouraging me to continue when I didn’t have the inspiration.

All the places featuring in the story are real, but I have allowed some artistic freedoms when it comes to eateries and other places in Grimstad and Kristiandsand. The characters as well as the mid-summer drownings are pure figments of my overly active imagination.

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Episode 23. Finale. Mid-summer

Mid-summer
June 23rd
“Please, sit down on the wooden chairs,” Amund said as he himself went over to the rocking chair. He didn’t appear to be the least senile.
“My little cottage,” he said and gave a sigh of satisfaction. He had lit a pocket torch and I could see that he too was holding a pistol of the same make as the one Laura’ had. I went over to one of the chairs and Merete obliged too, though she looked extremely uncomfortable. The silence lay over the cabin like a too hot, too thick and too heavy blanket.
“Why?” I asked in the end.
“The oldest motive in the world.” Amund replied. “All the murders happened because of love.”
“Why don’t you tell us about them till Laura comes? You know some entertainment before it’s my turn?” I asked.
“Your turn alone?” Amund asked. “You are both going to die tonight. Merete, you know too much. So I’m afraid you and your precious unborn babies will die tonight too. But I guess that didn’t come as a big surprise.”
Merete shook her head, but said nothing.
“I suppose I can entertain you,” Amund said. He drew in a deep breath and began.
I was ten when I first heard of the case of Franz Fransen’s mistress Helene and her drowning under strange circumstances. We were a few children wanting to go out in the boat to amuse ourselves. Among them was I, and Gerda’s older brother Magnus who is long dead. Gerda’s mother was terribly afraid of the sea and she didn’t want us to go. She told us that there were ghosts out there who drowned people. And then she told us about the drowning of her close childhood friend Helene Hansen which had happened right outside the light house Nellevine. That the ghost of Nellevine, a woman who had once lived in Homborsund, ad still haunted it, punished those who did wrongs that couldn’t be judged in the courtroom. As children, we didn’t believe her of course. And we went out in the boat without anything happening. I even forgot about it for a while.
But two years later, when my best friend Tore drowned, and I was weighed down by grief and anger of something so unfair, I remembered it. Janne Olsen was a silly woman and at the time we went out swimming, she was flirting with one of the local fishermen. That’s a part of the story nobody knows. But I saw her. And perhaps Tore hadn’t drowned had it not been for her flirting and had she been watching us like a good teacher. I knew she enjoyed kayaking and would go every evening possible when the weather was nice… So one day, I went to her house with a drill hidden inside my school bag. If anyone would have seen me enter her garden, they’d assume I’d come to give my dear teacher well wishes for the summer. But I had picked a time when most people would be at work. It didn’t take long to drill small holes in the kayak and cover them up so she couldn’t see them. However, the cover I used, paper, would dissolve as soon as it came into water. I had no idea if my plan would work, but it did. Guess she wasn’t such a good swimmer. Her kayak was even found floating bottom up with the holes very visible.
Years later, I fell in love with Gerda. But she wouldn’t know me. She was the most beautiful girl in all of Homborsund and beyond and she had many suiters. Her younger sister was a beauty too and knew it. Objectively speaking, she was even more beautiful than her sister. And this grieved Gerda a lot. I remember finding her crying one day because her sister had kissed a guy she liked. This was just before she got together with Sven. I found the whole thing scandalous, especially because Pernille was so young. But oh, how mature she was. Looked like a fully grown woman at fourteen. I resolved that day to remove from the world everything that would make Gerda unhappy. And I also resolved that she would be mine.
I asked Pernille to meet me in the magic forest. I had turned her down for the mid-summer dance which had greatly saddened her. So when I suggested this private meeting, she was overjoyed. I strangled her of course. It was quick and easy. And then I hung her up in the tree and left her. I made out to find her, and pretended to be distraught about it. And they pitied me.
Sven was easy to kill. I found out about his little mistress before Gerda did and thought it was best to remove him from this world before he would make her unhappy. Better to lose a loved one in death, than to a rival in life. I asked if he would come crab fishing with me. We weren’t exactly close friends, but I knew he didn’t like putting out the nets, though he enjoyed fresh crab, so I played on that. I knew the weather was going to be bad that day. But Sven, who had no suspicion and said yes, willingly came out with me. I initiated a proper man to man talk while we were in the boat. And I coaxed him into telling me about his mistress. I was made to understand that he intended to leave Gerda for her. The weather was starting to worsen and I knew I’d have to hurry if I wanted to get home in one piece. So I hit Sven over the head with a hammer I’d brought along. And then threw him over board.
I thought perhaps Gerda would come to me after the death of Sven. I comforted her a lot and always helped around. But I guess she saw me more as a brother. And she was soon married to the wife beater Nils. Gerda has never been very independent. And she hated staying single for longer than what was necessary or appropriate after Sven died. After Nils had beaten her especially badly one day, she came to me to seek comfort. And that was when our affair started. I wanted Gerda to myself. But divorce in those days, in a place like this, was hard. So Nils had to go too.
I made same process with him. Although I disposed of the boat afterwards.
“So that’s how you did it,” I said in lack of anything else to say.
“Yes.” Amund looked proud. “And I managed to persuade Gerda it must be Nellevine’s ghost who is behind all the murders. She thinks she’s in touch with the ghost herself. But I think she desperately want to believe that something supernatural is behind them. She knows in her heart of hearts that her own mother killed Helene Hansen. And I think she may at least suspect me.”
The door had opened quietly while Amund spoke and Laura stood in the doorway looking at us.
“Having a good time?” she asked sweetly.
None of us answered.
“I’m telling them about my prowess on the murder scene,” Amund said at last with a tone of pride in his voice. “And I’m not done yet. I’m sure Sandra here would like to know why I killed her father and brother.”
I found out that Sven’s mistress had a son because Gerda wanted so badly to adopt him. She never managed to get pregnant again after we’d had our son Carl Christian. My original plan was to murder the mistress and kidnap the baby, but they disappeared on us. I guess they must have asked for their phone number and address to be withheld from the phone register. I later learned that she’d changed her surname, but the son had the father’s name. So when he started working as a journalist in Grimstad, I decided that it would be far better to punish her by killing her child. And when he started looking into the mid-summer murders and put two and two together, it was time to strike. He called me and asked me for an interview, which I of course granted. Only I garroted him from behind before he even knew I was around.
“What about my baby brother?” I asked.
“That one was easy. He did have a weak heart and was in hospital overnight for some checkups. I came to the hospital one day and simply went into the section where he lay; put a pillow over his face and voilà! Your mum was downstairs getting something to eat. I observed that before I went there. My friend worked as a doctor there, so when anybody asked why I was there, I just said I was there to talk over a matter with him.”
I was starting to hate this man more and more. I was trembling with anger and indignation at how he talked about his crimes so easily, so proudly.
“We have to go soon,” Laura interrupted.
“Oh but let them have the last few answers before they die.”
“Make it quick,” Laura said and leaned against the door. An impatient expression on her face.
“We often visited our son in Stockholm. But he didn’t know that he was ours until he was eighteen. Until then, he assumed that we were his aunt and uncle. But when he learned of the circumstances around the adoption, he wanted to move to Norway to spend more time with us. However, we asked him to be very careful as it would look a little bit strange that a supposedly dead baby had come to life so many years later. My son was more like me than I could have hoped. And one day, I entrusted him my secret about the mid-summer murders, and why and how I’d carried them out. In fact, he was there when your father was killed Sandra. And he took a lot of pleasure in watching. Your father was killed because he knew too much, and he asked why I didn’t dispose of your mother too at the time. But your mother had you and went to London. We only knew about London later when you came back for summer holidays. In fact, I did try to kill her once, but she got away. It’s was purely a stroke of luck. On her side that is. I was planning to Garett her like I had your father, but just as I was about to do it, an old friend of hers passed. I didn’t have many other chances, because she stayed away from Homborsund. My son was the one by the way who spread all those false rumours about her having an affair etc. I thought that was very stupid as she might have stayed a little bit closer had he not done so.
Carl Christian, or Christian as we mainly called him, was doing well as a freelancer and asked to be posted to London for some national newspaper. While there he met your mum. It was not by co-incidence and he tried finding out how much she knew, but she’d never let on if she did know anything. He couldn’t of course kill her straight away, so he courted and married her. He liked her very much. But his sense of duty and protection of me was much stronger. And so when he heard the two of you discussing the test drive, he went and tampered with the breaks. The accident was supposed to kill both of you, but alas, you survived.
“Why did you wait twenty years?” I asked. I could see Laura shifting from one foot to another. She was really getting impatient now.
“Some of it was just how it naturally happened, but we also wanted most people to forget the other murders and disappearances so that too many questions wouldn’t be asked. And we wanted her to relax and think herself and you safe”
“And how about Laura? Where does she come in?”
“Laura came to Rune and Mona in May 1999. She became a huge favourite of mine after I discovered that she too had a dark side to her. By that time, I was getting a little weaker and I couldn’t kill like in the old days. I had intentions of doing away with you too. Better a whole family be gone. But I needed Laura’s help. You two were roughly the same age, and she could pretend to befriend you. However, two things went wrong. Laura was too eager to help me and your grandma saved you unknowingly. Also, not long after, Laura was taken into a home.
We wanted to wait a while after the London accident to try and get you once and for all. But you had to be in a state of total calm and no suspicion. We knew that the easiest way to get you to Homborsund was for Christian to call and scare you. And it worked a treat. I asked Gerda to tell you about the mid-summer murders and she did, not of course knowing anything of our plans. But it got you digging. And when your lover boy called Merete to help you, for she was looking into them as well, just out of pure interest, Laura decided to pose as her and befriend you. She was there when Merete got the phone call. She is a photographer, and has worked closely with Merete for a while. And you didn’t know Merete, so you didn’t know what she looked like. Of course, she was Clairvoyant Clara too, but you know that already. Genious Laura. She revealed herself to you so many times, but you were none the wiser. Proves that the best way to hide something is to do it in the open.”
“And I didn’t know she was a psycho who would lock me up and drug me down for three weeks,” Merete said through clenched teeth. “What if I had given birth?”
But Laura only stared at her. “I would have killed your babies,” she said.
“One last thing. I was desperate now. It was 1 o’clock and if I could keep him talking for a little bit longer, I didn’t know what I would do, but my head was working over time trying to find a way we could possibly escape. Time was of the essence.
“Why did Christian die? And did he really assault you Laura?”
“Ys he did. But Amund would never believe me.” She stared at him with hard, cold eyes. So I garroted and hung him up in the same three as Gerda’s sister.
“And for that Laura, I’m not sure if I can forgive you.” Amund said.
“Oh shut up. Let’s take care of our personal business later. We are going to kill these two first.”
Amund got up. “We have to go now. “He said abruptly.
“Are you going to shoot us?” Merete asked in a small voice.
“No. We have something else in stall for you. We want it to look like a Nellevine drowning. So we can’t shoot you.”
“No!” I shouted and spun on my heel to see Laura who had moved quietly from the door towards me extend a noose made from a thin steel wire over my head. A few seconds later, and I would have been dead. I hit her on the arm, and managed to grab it and bend it backwards. She fought against me and at one point the wire hit my hand with a stinging sensation.
“Help! Help” Merete screamed.
“Quiet, all of you. I think I need an explanation.”
The voice had come from the door which had opened quietly without anybody noticing it. Rune stood in the doorway and he was looking confused.
“Dad?” he asked. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere, again.”
Amund, who had not been prepared for the surprise of seeing his adopted son took a few seconds to put his vacant expression on, but he hadn’t fooled Rune.
“Put down the pistol and sit down for goodness sake,” he said.
He went over to his father and took the pistol out of his hands. Laura and I had stopped moving, and slowly he walked over and dragged Laura away from me.

“So Gerda is innocent then?” Emma asked. We were having dinner out at the seafood place Markus had taken me to on our first date. And our dates were there too.
“Seems like it. She knew Amund was hiding something of course and that he was pretending to be senile at times so as not to be suspected. He fooled his son though. But I’m not sure to what extent she knew about everything.
“It’s a pity we can never ask her,” Emma said putting down her fork and leaning back in her chair.
At around noon, we had gotten the news that Gerda had died in her sleep at the hospital.
“Do you wanna go on to somewhere else?” Asked Daniel and put an arm around Emma.
“Let’s go on one of the boats for a drink,” she replied.” “I just wanna go home,” I said to Markus. It had been a long day. Rune had tied Laura to one of the chairs with my help so she wouldn’t be able to run off and we had called the police. Amund, though mentally in tip top shape, wasn’t able to run, so he hadn’t bothered with him. The police had come half an hour later. And then there had been interrogations and explanations. Amund and Laura had both confessed to murdering. In Laura’s case one, and in Amund’s 7 people.
Markus summoned a waiter after having paid the bill; we went out and found a taxi.
“This story is more crazy than a book,” he said when we were sitting down in the back seat. I nodded and put my head on his shoulder.
“Will you be going back to London soon,” he asked. I shook my head.
“I’m taking a sabbatical from work. I have a book to write and a man, a grandma, a dog and a girlfriend to get to know better.”
“Is that so?” he asked and kissed me long and tender on the lips. “That’s a lucky man then.”
We asked the taxi to stop a little away from the house so we could enjoy the evening air and smells of BBQs and the sight of some probably illegal mid-summer fires.
“What do you think is going to happen to Amund and Laura?” I asked.
“I guess they’ll both end up in a mental institution. Laura is still young, so she could end up being released, or put in normal prison. But Amund is so old they’ll probably leave him be there till he passes.”
“And I hope Merete will be fine. I can’t wait to get to know the real one.”
Markus laughed. “She said all was fine when she went for a check-up today. Did you know her twins are going to be identical?”
We had reached the house and I was fishing for my keys in my bag. I was looking forward to my bed and perhaps some of that dessert we never got around to trying a few days ago. I found the keys and unlocked the door. Markus got in first and I followed. But just as I was about to close the door and lock it, I happened to glance out into the garden. And I could swear that by the hedge, stood a lady dressed in a long black coat and an elaborate hat.
“Markus look,” I exclaimed in alarm. But when he turned to where I was pointing, she was gone.

Episode 21. Bedside confessions

Bedside confessions
June 21st.

Sunday afternoon, I went to visit Gerda in hospital after having driven Arlette home. The BBQ had been nice. Markus had shown up and Daniel too. He was tall and handsome with blond air and friendly grey eyes. He hadn’t been able to take his eyes off Emma all night and whenever they’d got the chance, they’d gone inside together to carry things in or out.
Arlette had really enjoyed herself. She spoke to everybody and told the funniest jokes at the table. She had immediately taken a shine to Markus and Daniel, who had immediately taken a shine to her too.
Mica though, had been the real star of the evening. He basked in the constant attention he got. And Anita couldn’t believe he was the same dog who had just been moping around the week before. We had moved the party in when it got too chilly to sit outside. And the guests hadn’t gone until 1AM in the morning. Markus and Daniel had shared a taxi to Grimstad together. Without saying so, we all thought it was best like that. We had both just started dating. And having our dates over at the same time as Arlette was there was a little awkward even if both Emma and I were grown women.
We had made a bed for Arlette in another small spare room downstairs so that she wouldn’t have to bother with the stairs. The only person I wished had been there was Merete. Both Markus and I had called to invite her. But she hadn’t answered her phone to Markus, and to me she’d come with some excuse that she was tired and anyway had to work on the mid-summer murder installment for tomorrow. I thought she’d sounded rather snappy, but I had accepted her excuse, not dwelling on it any further.

What I hate most about hospitals, believe it or not, is the smell. It seemed to linger everywhere. Even in the reception area which somebody had tried to make look half decent with some flower pots and posters of famous paintings on the walls. It’s hard to describe the hospital smell. It’s not as if it’s strong or pungent, but it sneaks up into your nostrils and has a sort of depressing effect. Slightly sweet and clinical are the most adequate words I can use to describe it.
“I’m here to see Gerda Andersen,” I said to the man behind the reception desk. Even from where I was standing I could see he had the computer opened on his Facebook page. Meeting my eyes, he immediately minimized the browser and went into what I assumed was the patient database or register.
“She’s on the third floor in room 307, heart section.”
I thanked him and went over to the lift. I hoped nobody else was there. Either Sunday afternoon was the perfect family visit to the hospital day, or it was the day the family wanted to chill at home, feeling great, or not so great for having checked in earlier in the week.

I didn’t meet anybody as I entered the heart section. The nurse’s room was empty too. I found room 307 and knocked before opening the door.
It was a single room. Gerda lay on her right aside with her back towards me. I didn’t know if she was sleeping, so I went over and sat down on the chair beside the bed. I had brought a small pot of blue and white flowers which I put down on her bedside table next to a vase containing a few roses.
”“”Hi Gerda,” I said leaning over her.
At first she didn’t stir, but after what seemed like an eternity, she slowly turned her head and looked at me.
“I’m old,” she sighed. “I’m very old. I am tired.”
“You’re in great shape,” I said stroking her hand which was lying on top of the white duvet.
“You’re still a beautiful woman and Amund loves you.”
I don’t know where all the compliments came from. Perhaps it was seeing the old lady lying there, alone and vulnerable looking. Murderer or not.
“He didn’t die you know,” Gerda said and slowly turned around so that she could face me.
“Who didn’t die?” I asked.
“My baby. He didn’t die. But he was Amund’s baby and I was married to Nils. When he was a few months old, Nils started suspecting that something was wrong. That the baby wasn’t his, which of course it wasn’t. But Nils was very handsome, but he was violent. He used to beat me. Once, he beat one of his own children out of me. Amund and I, he had been in love with me since we were school children. But I hadn’t been interested. Not then. The lighthouse keeper’s son. But one day, one day we talked and the talking lead to more. And nine months later, I had a baby. I was afraid of what Nils would do when he found out. I knew it was Amund’s child. Amund knew too. I’d told him. We had carried on our affair.”
“But how did you fake you baby’s death?”
“Oh, it was easy. So easy.” Her eyes were looking at me and they were glittering in the white hospital light.
“Amund’s sister’s baby had died from crib death and Amund saw a chance for our son to get a good life and be safe for as long as it took me to get a divorce from Nils. So he went to his sister who, at first was upset by the request of taking in our son while I buried her baby as the son of Nils and me. But she did accept on the condition that she could adopt him. I was unwilling, but at the time, it was the best thing that could have happened. Nobody else apart from Irene’s own husband, a Swede who soon took her and our son to live in Stockholm, Irene, Amund and I knew about the swap. Because Amund had gotten the news on the same day. So the swap was easy. I cried and cried. I missed my son terribly and I’d had so many miscarriages before getting him. . And my tears were real. Nils told me to shut up and beat me until I cried some more. He said he was happy to get rid of the bastard who could impossibly have been his child. Then, Nils drowned. He didn’t kill my baby, but he would have done. And Nellevine knew.”
“How about Sven?” I asked.
“I loved him for a long time. He was my teenage sweetheart in fact. But then I found out about his affair. I was very shocked to find out about his affair. I thought nothing could separate us. And then he drowned of course. I knew Nellevine had it in for him. Dishonest man he turned out to be. It was after that, I got the mad reputation. But I don’t care really.”
“Who told you about Nellevine’s revenge?” I asked.
“My mother. Because the first one to drown was my father, the artist. After that, we moved back to Homborsund where my mum comes from.”
“I need to ask you this Gerda. Did you ever help Nellevine carry out her revenge?”
I decided that was the best way to ask. Did you kill them? Sounded a tad too forward and rude. I didn’t believe that the ghost was behind it but maybe it I played it like that, she’d tell me.
“Because if you did, I wouldn’t blame you.”
Another thing to say to make her talk. I felt a bit like a bad cop in an American detective thriller drama though, but so be it.
“It’s good to talk about those things you know. And you can tell me.”
Gerda shook her head.
“Nellevine doesn’t need help to carry out her revenge. Besides, why would I kill Sven? Arlette would be the one I’d wanna get rid of.”
At that moment a nurse came in.
“Time to take your medicine and get some rest Gerda,” she said. And turning to me, “I think it’s perhaps best you leave now. Gerda is weak and tired.”

“So your former step-dad was Gerda’s son?” I was sitting next to Markus on the sofa in his apartment. It was a nice bachelor pad which was kept clean and tidy.
“It seems that way.”
“So all the murders are pointing to Gerda except the first one. Of the ones committed here I mean.”
“They do,” I said slowly. Although she made a very good point. Why would she kill her husband whom she loved deeply and not his mistress?”
“She could be lying to you,” Markus said and got up. “Tea?” I nodded.
“I don’t think she was somehow. I can’t really say for sure, but I think Amund may be behind a few of those murders. Think about it. Her father’s mistress was the first one who got killed.” “So what of this Nellevine business? Do you think she is protecting someone?”
“Sure. Who wants to call out their mother as a murderer? But I guess she believes in it in a way too.”
I sipped my tea and sat in thought for a while.
“Amund has bigger motives too to have committed those murders,” I said finally. “In the case of Nils for instance, he had everything to gain. Gerda and he were having an affair; her loveless and abusive marriage to Nils wasn’t something she could get out of easily. I’m guessing he would have made problems for her if she filed for a divorce. And I am not sure a divorce would have been looked upon with friendly eyes back then either.”
“What about the teacher whoWO had killed the child? And what about the other murders,” said Markus. I see your point by the way about Amund.” He added and put an arm around my shoulders.
“The child could have been a friend of Amund’s. I’m not sure. As for other murders, I have a suspicion. But I need some time to prove it. Amund must have an accomplish. Someone who works with him. Because otherwise, how would his son have been hanged? It doesn’t matter how fit he is. I doubt he’d be strong enough to kill someone that much younger and stronger than him alone.””
He pulled me close and kissed me. “I know you will.” He said. “But it’s Sunday night. Let’s think of something else for a while.

Episode 15. Dead Psychic

Dead psychic
June 15th.
The pace of life slows down considerately on the Norwegian south coast at the height of summer. It’s an attitude that’s not shared to the same degree in the capital for example. Although I was shocked to discover how short a Norwegian working day is compared to a British one. Especially because they’re meant to be the same length. It wasn’t quite the height of summer yet, but we were rapidly approaching mid-summer and it was the unwritten rule at Hansen & Dale that after the yearly summer party, things could slow down. Emma had taken the morning off. She wanted to spend the day with the new addition to the household. Get to know Mica properly. I decided to spend the morning at Grimstad library since Markus had called me the day before, thanked me for a great evening on Saturday and asked if I’d have lunch in town with him on Monday. Since I wanted to do some research on Clairvoyant Clara and since I like to be on the move, I thought it would kill two birds with one stone if I went to town and used the computers there.
The library was empty except for two women who were browsing the shelves. Markus was happy to see me and he gave me a hug and a very quick kiss on the lips before he helped me log into a computer.
“I can probably get off for lunch at around twelve,” he said. “I’ll leave you to do your research, but feel free to shout if there’s anything you need.”
I opened the browser, and googled Psychics, Norway and association. It amused me that there should be an association for psychics, but then, there seemed to an association for everything niche these days. The most specific I’d come across in my work was the African and Caribbean society for the deafblind.
But all I found apart from “Calla clairvoyant today” were warning articles from the Humanist Association, articles on how much Norwegians spent every year calling these so called psychics and about a Norwegian psychic having been fooled by a BBC logo. But I saw nothing like an association. The only thing I got from googling Clairvoyant Clara was the figure in an Isabel Allende novel. Facebook wasn’t helpful either.
“How’s it going?” Markus bent over me and placed a pile of books next to me on the table.
“I think you’ll love these. A couple of books by André Bjerke that will give you the chills and a few more carefully selected by me.”
“You don’t think I have enough chills and creeps in real life?” I said and mocked anger.
Markus laughed. “I put some chicklet there too. In English so you get a break.”
Although I was Norwegian and spoke the language pretty much fluent, English was still my most preferred language and I still felt a little bit like a foreigner in my own Norway whenever I was here. But mum had done her best to speak Norwegian at home. And I’d kept it up when I came to Homborsund in the summer holidays where I read Norwegian books. So my writing was ok as long as I didn’t have to write very complicated things.
“Thanks,” I said. “Now, how do I get hold a psychic who has completely disappeared? And who may be a fake?”
“Thank you for calling The Fortune Tellers. A psychic will soon be with you to conduct your reading.” “Please wait, while a readers becomes available.” We had eventually managed to track down a Clara on the website of a company that would give you a reading by phone. An extensive google search Markus had also participated in since there was so little to do just then, had left us with only this result. And having nothing else to go on, I decided to call and ask questions since it was the only thing I could do at this stage. Mozart’s 40th Symphony was playing in my ear and for some reason that surprised me. I thought the waiting music of a psychics line would be Indian inspired meditation music.
“Hello. My name is Rosa and I’m going to do your reading today. Before we start, are you aware of the cost of this reading?”
“Yes,” I said.
This line made you pay according to how long the reading was, which was fair. The rates were extortionate though, at 15 Norwegian kroners, just over a pound per minute. When I’d called, I’d given a sort of receptionist to whom I’d given my e-mail address for the invoice to be sent to.
“What’s your name and what sort of reading do you wish me to do for you today?”
“I’m calling about another reader, Clara.”
All the readers had only been listed by their first name. There had been six of them in total.
“I am sure I can do your reading as well as she can,” Rosa said patiently.
“It’s just that, Clara did a face to face reading for me on Friday and I’m eager to talk to her about it.”
Rosa sighed at the other end of the line.
“Is this some kind of joke?”
The friendliness was gone from her voice.
“Because if it is, it’s really not funny and in very wicked taste.”
“How?” I asked feeling confused.”
“If you knew Clara at all, you’d not have called to make these untrue claims.”
“But, I really did meet her on Friday,” I said “I’m sorry, but I’m not joking. I live in Grimstad and she was present at a company summer party doing readings for the guests.”
“That can’t possibly be so,” Rosa said quietly. “Because my former colleague Clara who did live in Grimstad, died on June 2nd and was buried this Friday just gone.”
“This really doesn’t make sense,” I said frustrated. We had walked to a popular coffee bar to have lunch and I had just told Markus about the strange phone conversation with Rosa.
“Calm down,” he said and put a hand on mine. “I don’t know how yet, but we’ll get to the bottom of this.”
After the revelation that Clairvoyant Clara had been dead for some time, I had asked Rosa if there was any way I could see a picture of the Clara who had been her colleague. I had given her my e-mail address and she’d promised to send something through when her shift was over. She answered negatively when I asked her whether there could be any other Clara in Grimstad who was a psychic.
“Of course there could be, but even if we psychics have not organized ourselves into any association, we have some idea of the local ones and who they are.” Rosa herself was based in Kristiansand.“
“And we have some idea on a national level too, although we can’t know about everybody of course.”
What had made her think this was a bluff however, was the fake website that was set up to book Clara and the fact that Clara had approached Hansen & Dale.
“Normally, we don’t do company parties. Those so called clairvoyants are usually doing it as a hobby and it’s very clear from who they are. This girl tried to pass herself off as a proper psychic by setting up that website.”
I had ended the conversation by apologizing but Rosa, who had been very cold towards me when she thought I was joking, was fine about it and hoped we found the fake Clara.
“So you see,” Markus said taking a bit out of his cinnamon bun. “We’ll just have to find out who this woman is.”
“Easier said than done,” I said and bit into my own cinnamon bun.
As we turned into the street where the library was, a bike came driving passed, so close that it almost hit Markus. I turned around to see who the reckless biker was. She was obscured by the speed and the helmet, but I was almost sure that I could make out the strawberry blond bob of fake clairvoyant Clara.

Episode 14. Dog chooses owner

Dog chooses owner
June 14th
When I woke up the next morning, I felt better and lighter than I’d done in ages. We hadn’t discussed my predicament any further after entering the restaurant and that was fine with me. I felt safe in the knowledge that I had people around me who would help should things get ugly with my former step dad.
The food had been lovely. We’d shared a seafood platter for starters. The scallops, mussels, shrimps and crab claws had tasted amazing in that way only seafood just taken out of the sea could. Afterwards, I’d eaten fried flatfish with rice, and garden salad with pomegranate vinegar dressing. Markus had chosen a fish risotto. We had talked while we enjoyed the food and wine. And though I know it’s a cliché, it felt like we’d known each other for ages. When the dinner was over, and we’d paid our bills, he helped me get a cab, and kissed me briefly, but passionately on the lips before we parted.
It was only eight o’clock, but Emma was already in the kitchen when I got downstairs. The smell of waffles made my tummy rumble and when I entered the kitchen, Emma already had a few waffles spread out over kitchen paper.
“You’re up early,” I said.
“Good morning. How was your date?”
She’d gone to bed by the time I got home at eleven, probably exhausted from all her hard work with the forty years jubilee the day before.
“Actually, I can tell it went well from your face,” she said and gestured for me to put some more coffee on.
“We can eat some of this waffles now,” Emma said while I set the table. “But the rest, we’re bringing to Arlette. I’m really dying to meet her again. But before we go there, I’m taking us to the dog house.”
“The dog house?” I asked poring myself a cup of strong coffee.
“You remember my colleague Anita from the party?”
I nodded.
“She works for the animal welfare as a volunteer and since she and her partner have a reasonably large house, sometimes takes in stray dogs that need new homes when their kennels are filled up. And since I’d been thinking of getting a dog for a while, I thought I’d come today since she has five staying with her. «That’s exciting,” I exclaimed, reaching for a waffle. I absolutely adored dogs, but I’d never felt it was the right time to have one since I often worked long hours. Emma on the contrary, had not been a dog person at all, so the news that she wanted a dog came as quite a surprise.

The dogs were outside in the garden when we arrived. Anita and a man I assumed was her boyfriend sat on their veranda drinking Fanta with ice cubes and observed the dogs playing. There was a huge German shepherd laying under a tree not joining in at all, a Dalmatian and Irish setter rolling around on the grass, a poodle washing itself and a black Labrador chewing contentedly on a bone.
“Lovely to see you!” Anita got up and walked down the garden path towards us.
The Dalmatian and the setter were all over us as soon as we got inside the gate. The Labrador came to sniff, but the poodle and the German shepherd seemed completely uninterested in us. Emma backed away in horror as the Dalmatian jumped up and tried to lick her face.
“Nessa, down,” Anita commanded in an authoritative voice. “Nessa has been with me for a few weeks now and she’s a completely different dog from the quiet skinny one who had clearly been neglected by her owner.”
Anita Caressed Nessa’s head and Nessa waved her tail before running away to fetch a toy that was lying on the grass.
“This is Belle,” Anita said and patted the Irish setter. The lab is called Max, the poodle Alana and this here, “she walked over to the German shepherd who now appeared to be sleeping. “This is Mica. He came to me a couple of weeks ago and he has been very quiet all the time. He was found in an overheated shed in a back garden. Someone in the neighbouring house called to alert us that the owners had moved without taking the dog.
“That’s awful,” Said Emma and bent down to pat his soft head. He didn’t stir.
“I don’t know who to choose,” Emma said in the end. “What do you think Sandra?”
I passed in my playing fetch with Belle. “I don’t know,” I said. “But it’s going to be your dog, so you’ll have to make the decision.”
“That’s where you’re both wrong,” smiled Anita. The one who will make the decision is the dog.”
“How does that work?” Asked Emma.
“Pat the dogs you haven’t patted yet and then make out as you’re leaving. The dog, who follows you, is yours.”
Emma patted all the dogs in turn, except the poodle that seemed to be interested in only herself. When she was done, she started walking towards the gate. Anita and I watched with excitement as Mica, the German shepherd got up and started following her.
“Turn around,” we said in unison. Emma smiled as she watched Mica stop when she stopped and walk again when she started walking.
“Miracles haven’t ceased to happen,” she said when they’d both reached the gate. She entwined her fingers into his soft long hairs and he leaned his head towards her. “Because I never thought I’d A, get a dog, and B, get a big dog.”

Half an hour later, we were on the road. Anita had given us Mica’s bowl as well as his colour and lead. “The owners had the sense to microchip him. He’s been to the vet, and he’s physically healthy. I’m sure he’ll recover just fine with you mentally. «We were now on our way to Arlette. Mica sat in the back seat and stared out of the window as if he’d never done anything else in his life.
Arlette was sitting on the veranda listening to something through headphones when we arrive. She was overjoyed to see me again. And though she and Emma had only met a few times many years ago, they seemed happy to see each other as well. Even Mica, understanding that Arlette was family, came up to sniff her hand and he let her pat his head before he lied down gently at her feet.
Astrid came out and greeted us and then asked if we wanted something to drink.
“Most curious,” said Arlette after I’d told them about Clairvoyant Clara at the Hansen & Dale summer party. “I too would normally write off those fortune tellers as fake. But she seemed to know a lot of things about you that you could never have told her.”
“Unless,” I said. “And I know this sounds crazy, but maybe she’s in on the whole thing.” “That would be a really strange coincidence,” said Emma. Although the booking of her did happen in a very strange way, because she was the one who called us. She mentioned being a psychic and that her friend worked for us and had told her about the summer party. And would we need a fortune teller? You know, just for fun? I spoke to Hansen Jr about it before I said yes, and he was delighted at the idea. Not because he believed in fortune telling, but because he thought it would be a nice edition the women and children especially would enjoy.”
Sexist, I thought.
“Oh what a stupid man!” Exclaimed Arlette as if she’d read my thoughts.
“Emma laughed and helped herself to another waffle.
“He’s quite old-school in his thinking,” she added.
“Did Clairvoyant Clara give you the name of her friend, or her own real name in relation to that booking?” I wanted to know.
Emma shook her head. But I found her on some National Association of psychics website listed under that name. So I accepted her request to be at our party as it was just a bit of fun anyway.”
”I would check her out thoroughly if I were you,” said Arlette. There is something about this that really stinks and I don’t like it in the slightest.

Episode 11. Karl Lund

Karl Lund
June 11.
Merete had been all ears when I’d called her the night before to tell her about finding my paternal grandmother. And she’d promised to do a little digging around to see whether she could find out more about Frank Mikkelsen and also about the son Gerda had adopted. Now, we were sitting indoors at the place where we’d been eating on Monday because it was too windy and rainy to sit outside.
“Frank Mikkelsen was quite a high profile reporter,” she said flipping through a folder full of copied articles. She’d spent the whole day in the archives digging out information. And there was a lot more about Frank Mikkelsen here than what I’d found at the library.
“On way to mother in Kristiansand before disappearing”
Was one of the headlines.
“Frank Mikkelsen? What happened?”
Was another. The article was speculating in whether the disappearance of frank Mikkelsen was natural or if somebody was behind it. Since he was clearly observed one minute and gone the next.
“Eline denies affair. Says she loves husband and is waiting for him to come home”
Was another topic. I only skimmed a lot of the articles as they were not particularly interesting beyond the headline.
Merete was yawning opposite me.
“I could kill for a coffee right now,” she said. “But I guess I have to make due with tea as I’ve had the share of caffeine I am allowed being pregnant.”
I looked up from my reading and made sympathetic noises. Melissa was complaining about exactly the same thing. Although she’d gone extreme and even stayed off caffeine in soft drinks.
“How can she do that? I’d kill someone.”
“She’s been close to killing both me and her husband a couple of times,” I said. And we have to endure another 16 weeks.”
Merete laughed and got up. “You gave me an idea though. I’ll pretend I didn’t know there is caffeine in diet Pepsi. Want anything?”
“I’ll have a Pepsi too.”
She got up and stretched. “Look at this while I’m away.” She took a piece of paper out of her file and pushed it over to me.
“Was investigating the mid-summer murders when he disappeared,” said the headline. I read on:
Grimstad Daily News has learned that around the time of his disappearance, Frank Mikkelsen was making investigations into the Homborsund mid-summer murders.
It’s unclear as of yet whether he is making the investigations privately or publicly. However, he had been observed looking for old material in the archives.
Mikkelsen is the son of diseased Sven Mikkelsen who was third to drown outside the lighthouse Nellevine.
Could his disappearance be co-incidence, or is this calculated by somebody who was perhaps involved in the mid-summer murders?”
The byline read Karl Lund.
Merete came back with two bottles of diet Pepsi and two bags of ready salted crisps. I grabbed one of the bags and opened it.
“Do you know who Karl Lund is?” I asked after I’d swallowed my mouthful.
“Yes, I do as a matter of fact.”
“It’s not by any chance the boy Gerda adopted?” I asked unscrewing my Pepsi bottle.
“No. He is not that interesting a person. And I happened to know him. Not that I knew he was Gerda’s son until I started researching the mid-summer murders, but he is my ex’s neighbour and his name is Rune Andersen. He’s friendly enough. A painter. Like a painter who paints houses. Not an artist. ” She pointed to her stomach and drank greedily from her Pepsi. “The father of these two little devils. He’s my ex. We broke up.”
“While you’re pregnant with his kid?”
“Yes. We shouldn’t have been together in the first place. But as it happens, he’s a nice guy and he’ll be a good father to them and help me bring them up. But back to Karl Lund.”
“She pulled out a photo from her file.
“Karl Lund is a half Swedish, half Norwegian journalist who worked with Grimstad Daily News for about three years. I called the guy who was the editor at that time and he told me that Karl Lund was known for writing very spiteful opinion columns, which was what got him fired in the end. Although, he had apparently been a good news reporter. He got fired in 1987 after writing a speculative piece on how one local politician might have spent public money to buy a new boat, when he was supposed to do a cozy interview on how he spent the summer when he wasn’t working. The new boat was going to be featured heavily in the interview. Turned out Karl Lund was right about the money coming from public funds, but it was the way he attacked the piece the editor had an issue with.”
She pushed the photo over to me.
“That’s him.”
I picked up the photo and stared at it for two seconds before dropping it in horror.

“Sandra, are you ok?” I sat on the floor with my head between my knees and my breaths were coming out in gasps. I felt someone holding out a brown paper bag and I took it and breathed into it.
“Are you ok?” The voice which I now realized belonged to Merete repeated.
“I am fine,” I said when my breathing had slowed down enough for me to speak.
“Are you able to get up?” she asked.
I stretched my hands up and grabbed the table. And slowly I was able to place myself back onto my chair and push it towards the table. I picked up my Pepsi and drank. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “It’s just that, this man can’t be Karl Lund. His name is Christian Holm and he is, was my step-father.
“Really?” Merete had also got herself back on her chair. “You have to tell me everything Sandra.”
It was May 17th 2001 and the final year I let my mum drag me to the Norwegian constitution day celebrations in Southwark Park. I had really enjoyed it as a child, but as I got older, I found all the Norwegians insisting on parading in the streets and pretending to be in Norway a bit tacky. Mum wasn’t a huge fan either, but thought it was good to instill at least some Norwegian culture in me since I’d not been brought up in Norway, nor gone to Norwegian school. He had introduced himself to mum whilst I’d gone to try and get waffles and Solo, an orange drink similar to Fanta. The queue had been long and they’d managed to strike up quite a good friendship already when I’d returned.
“Sandra, meet Christian. He’s from Stockholm, but can you believe it, his mum is from Homborsund?”
I’d thought it to be quite a co-incidence, but didn’t think more about it.
They went for dinner the week after they met. The dinners became more and more frequent, as did his staying the night. I didn’t mind. I was sixteen, and during my childhood, mum hadn’t been dating anyone seriously enough to introduce them to me. So I’d had her to myself all my life. He moved in gradually and they married a year and three months after they met. Everything seemed to be fine. But when I’d moved out to go to university, I started receiving disconcerting phone calls from mum that had made me nervous. At first, she’d complained that she wasn’t sleeping well and that she was always drained. I told her to take it easy at work and leave more work for her second in command and the shop assistants.
Then she started complaining of headaches and stomach aches and then, she told me she’d started to feel scared and that it was because of Christian. But she hadn’t been able to continue the conversation as just then, he had come home.
The car accident happened the following week. The car accident that had killed my mum, and left me with serious injuries. Christian had just disappeared out of my life. He wasn’t even at my mum’s funeral which was held after four weeks to give me the chance to recover. I couldn’t understand what had happened. His phone had just been switched off and my e-mails were left unanswered. But I had somehow gotten through it, thanks to Melissa, her parents and Emma who had come to stay with me in London for a while whilst I was recovering and taking my exams at the same time. I hadn’t heard anything from Christian, not until recently when he called me at work and when he sent that anonymous text. He seemed to be both alive and well.
“That’s creepy.” Merete said. “Are you scared of him?”
I nodded.
“But the car accident…”
“Another time. Please, “I interrupted her. “I can’t talk about that today.”
Merete put a hand on top of mine on the table and squeezed it. “I’m happy to listen whenever you’re ready to talk,” she said. And I felt as if she really meant it.
“It’s interesting though about his name. Because I found out that Karl Lund was a pseudonym. His full name is Carl Christian Lundholm. And he quite rightly had a Swedish father and a Norwegian mother.”
Merete dug in her file again and pushed another piece of paper and an ancient looking photo over to me.
“And you might be interested to know that his adopted mother Irene Lundholm was Irene Andersen before she married. She was Amund Andersen’s younger sister.”
I picked up the photo which showed a handsome man in his thirties or forties dressed in a three piece suit and with his hair combed back from his forehead. Next to him stood a beautiful bride with dark hair elaborately arranged on top of her head. She was holding a large flower bouquet and was smiling at her groom.
“Who are they?” I asked.
“That’s Amund’s and Gerda’s wedding picture taken in 1963.”
“Wow. Gerda really was quite beautiful,” I said.
“Merete nodded.
“But look,” she said, and pushed the photo of Carl Christian Lundholm towards me. “Don’t you see the family resemblance?”
I looked from him to Amund and gasped. The resemblance was striking to say the least. Like father and son. But was that possible?

Episode 10. Arlette’s story

Arlette‘s story
June 10th

The home where Arlette Johnsen lived did not look like a stereotypical institution. It was a red and white wooden house surrounded by a lush green garden with benches and tables and tidy flower beds. I was excited as I walked up the path to the house

As I entered, I was reminded of an English country house. There was no proper reception area, so I entered into something I assumed was a common room of sorts. There were two sofas and a few chairs along the walls, and a flat TV screen on one of the other. The sound was mute, but judging from the pictures, it was showing a news report. Two old men sat in two of the armchairs. One was watching the TV intently, and one was reading a newspaper. I wasn’t sure how to get a nurse’s attention, so I stood there for a while hesitating before the man reading the newspaper looked up and saw me.
“Who are you here to see?”
He asked, funnily enough in American accented English.
“I’m here to meet my grandma,” I replied. “But it’s my first time, so I don’t know my way around here.”
“See that door over there mam? You go knock on that and someone should be able to help you.”
He pointed towards the wall to my left and for the first time I saw that it was in fact a door. The paneling had blended so perfectly with the wall that I hadn’t seen it, but now it was obvious as I spotted a door handle.
“Thank you sir,” I said.
“No bother. My name’s Captain Henry, but they all call me Hank.”
“Nice to make your acquaintance”, I replied and felt as if I was having one of these types of conversations you read in English literature from the colonial era, where page upon page is filled with platitudes.
I knocked on the door. And it was almost immediately opened by a plump woman in her fifties with a round friendly face and laughter lines around the eyes.
“You must be Sandra,” she said when she saw me. “I am Astrid, whom you spoke to yesterday.”
She held out a hand and I shook it.
“Arlette has been dying to see you since yesterday afternoon.”
“Mam, One more brandy and soda over here please”
It was Hank.
“Nina will be along with your medicines shortly Henry,” Astrid replied in Norwegian.
“A brandy calms the nerves of a captain,” He half said, half sang to himself.
“Don’t mind him,” Astrid said. “He served as a captain in the marine during most of his life and he’s got dementia. But a mild form of it. Still though, he thinks he’s bossing his crew around.” She laughed. “Although he’s very sweet our old captain.”
She led the way out another door and down a corridor. There were pictures on the walls. Some were of people, I assumed of people who lived there. Some were taken recently and showed them old, and smiling. Others were older. One was even a poster taken out of an old version of Vogue. Other pictures were scenery pictures. It looked cozy, like a home home. Not an institution home.
“This place is lovely,” I remarked.
“It’s privately owned. We don’t have many residents here, we like to call them that instead of patients, but the ones we have, we have a very good relationship with and we want them to feel that this is an actual home.”
She stopped outside a door with a wooden sign saying “Here lives Arlette,” and knocked before she opened.

Arlette Johnsen could only be described as a magnificent woman. She was wearing a cream coloured dress that was matching the arm chair she was sitting in. Her hair was long and white and looked like it had been freshly curled into neat ringlets. She was even wearing mascara and red lipstick and nail polish. She got up and I noticed she gripped the armrests very tightly as she straightened up into a standing position.
“Is that you Sandra?” she asked, walking slowly towards me. Her smile reached her sea green eyes which were looking directly at me.” ”Hi,” I said walking towards her to meet her half way. “I am Sandra.”
We stopped right in front of each other and she held out her hands. “I’m afraid I’m blind. So you need to come closer so I can have a proper look at you.”
I walked a couple of steps and took her hand. She released it and traced up my arm and shoulder to the side of my face. She cupped it gently as she touched my forehead, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. I closed my eyes, enjoying her cool hands on my face. She touched my throat and traced backwards towards my neck. She paused at the birth mark. I usually hated being touched there. But for some reason, I didn’t mind now. She touched my hair before putting her arms around me in a hug.
“How pretty you are,” she said. “You resemble me when I was around your age. The high cheekbones and forehad. And your nose.”
Astrid, who was still by the door, cleared her throat. “I suppose you two would like some privacy, but shall I get some tea and cakes?”
“Oh yes please,” Arlette said. “Green tea for me please.”
“For me too,” I said.
“Come and sit down,” Arlette said and walked stiffly back towards her armchair. I noticed the room properly for the first time and it was lovely. There was another armchair opposite hers and a walnut coloured coffee table between them. Along one wall was a bed, a wardrobe and a chest of drawers on which stood a digital radio. Along the other walls was a small book case with books that looked like they were in Braille. There was even an en suite bathroom
“I like your room,” I said admiringly and seated myself in the empty chair.
“Me too.” I have lived here for five years now and I don’t regret it for a day.”
“Where did you live before?”
“I lived in a nice top floor apartment in the city centre of Kristiansand. But I had an accident five years ago and my knees have never been quite the same since. I need a wheelchair if I’m going out of this room. And being blind and using a wheelchair, well it was just not practical to live alone any longer. So I found this pearl of a place owned by a woman whose diseased wealthy mum requested in her will this was made a private home for the elderly.”
“And did you become blind in the accident too?” I asked.
Arlette threw her head back and laughed.
“No!” I was born blind. Nothing they could do. But I’ve done alright. I used to be a model in my young days. You saw that Vogue poster outside?”
I nodded. “That was you?”
“Yes, it was. But let me start from the beginning.”
“I was born in Homborsund in 1932. I had a happy childhood. My mother expected me to chip in at home just like my two sisters and I was a daddy’s girl. Always went out fishing with him. He was the local fisherman when I was seven, I was sent away to a school for the blind and I only saw my family during the holidays. The teachers at that school didn’t know what to do about me. I wasn’t good with my hands and I am completely tone deaf. So for me to become a basket weaver or a piano tuner was out of the question. Thank God.
Then, one day when I went on holiday to Oslo with my sister Karen to visit a friend of ours who had married there, I was spotted by a photographer at a cocktail party. He was the friend of our friend’s husband and he wasn’t put off by my blindness at all. I was seventeen then and had been out of school for a while. I had taken a typist course, but there weren’t any jobs going at the time, so I was bored at home. I ceased the opportunity and very soon I was living a glamorous life in the capital. The work was hard, but the money was good and everything else that came with it. I traveled a great deal too. I saw London, Paris, Rome and Berlin. But I imagine all those cities are very different nowadays.
I met Sven in 1951 when I was back in Homborsund for my eldest sister Amalie’s wedding. Sven was so attentive, witty and charming. Nothing like the boyfriend I’d just broken up with back in Oslo who was dull and wanted me to leave modelling so I could marry him and be a stay at home wife. . Sven was a Taylor and I met him because he was the one who made the bridesmaid dress I wore at the wedding. We fell in love and started an affair. We didn’t see each other as often as we wanted to, but it was all the more passionate when we did manage to steal some time. I knew Gerda, his wife, but not well, because she was quite a bit older than me. She didn’t suspect anything for the first two years. And she’d never suspect her husband to have an affair with me. I was after all, the blind girl who probably could do no wrong. But then I fell pregnant and it put a stop to everything. I tried to hide it for as long as I could. But when I started showing, I realized I had no choice, but to move back home to Homborsund until the birth.
My parents were not happy about the pregnancy at all and refused to take me in so I moved in with my sister Amalie who lived in Grimstad. I told her everything including who was the father. She was horrified but promised not to say anything. She was meant to adopt my child when it was born so that I could continue my career. And when I’d given birth, I left for Oslo. But, the people I’d worked for before didn’t want me back.
Not able to find new work, I moved back to Grimstad where I raised my son. There was a lot of talk. Even if Amalie didn’t say anything, it somehow came out anyway. And then, mid-summer of the year after Frank was born; Sven disappeared only a few days before he was packing up to leave Gerda for good and come stay with us. I came forward during the police investigations and admitted that we’d had an affair. Karen, who was left in Homborsund, told me that Gerda had been mad when she found out about frank. She even made Karen forward a letter to me which begged me to let her adopt him. She had had miscarriage after miscarriage and so believed she couldn’t have children. she later had a son who died as an infant. I refused to give up my son of course. Why should I? She had no rights to him whatsoever. Gerda kept sending me threatening letters. That she’d come and get him. That he should be rightfully hers since her husband was the father.”

“I finally had enough when Gerda one day showed up at my door and tried to take Frank with her. Frank was only two then and didn’t understand what was happening. He cried and clung to me for dear life. In the end, a neighbour got tired of the noise and rang the police. I had to move, or I was scared of what would happen to Frank. So I started applying for jobs in Kristiansand and got a typist job for a small solicitor’s firm. I changed my surname to my mother’s maiden name. Frank had his father’s name. I couldn’t bear to change it. But Gerda no longer bothered us. I guess she’d remarried by then and I know she adopted a boy after her own child died.” ”
“Frank grew up, did well in school and got a job at Grimstad daily news when he finished his journalism exam. I begged him not to go. To look for jobs in Kristiansand which is a larger town, but he wanted the job and so he went. And he did well. He stayed on for years, met your mother and they married. I was horrified to find out that your mother was from Homborsund, but what could I do? Only hope that Gerda wouldn’t bother me again.
One day, Frank was looking for something in the archives when he came across the obituary of his father. He knew who his father was. But apart from a few questions, he’d never really been that interested. But the article sparked curiosity in him since it mentioned that this was the third mid-summer disappearance in Homborsund. So he started playing detective. On the day he disappeared, he called me to let me know he thought he’d know who’d committed two of the three murders. He also mentioned something about baby Sven not having died of a heart failure, but that he’d tell me more when he saw me as the phone was not a safe medium to share such information. He was on his way to mine when he disappeared. And I haven’t seen him since.

A single tear ran down Arlette’s cheek as she uttered those last words.
“Do you miss him?” I asked.
“Terribly. You get used to living without someone. And I’m able to have good and bad days now. But I’ve never managed to be truly happy after Frank disappeared. It’s been lonely you know. Sure I had friends, even lovers, but I didn’t want to tell any of them about the past.And I cut ties with most people in Homborsund except my sister Karen who never married, nor had children. You have know idea how happy I am to have you in my life. And I can’t wait to get to know you better.”

On the way home later that day I was so deep in thought that I nearly missed my bus stop. Astrid had come in with tea and cupcakes after Arlette had told her story and we had enjoyed it in comfortable silence. There was so much more I wanted to ask my newly found grandma. –But she looked tired and I decided to let her rest.
“Promise to come back soon,” she’d said when I got up to leave.
“I’ll come back this Sunday and I’ll bring Emma too.” I promised. I was already looking forward to it. In the meantime, I had to arrange another meeting with Merete. She’d love to hear what I’d just found out today about my father and brother.

Episode 9. Looking for grandma

Looking for grandma
June 9th.
The next morning I went online to see if I could track down my paternal grandmother Arlette Johnsen. I was hopeful, but I was prepared to be disappointed. Just because Gerda hadn’t seen any obituaries in any of the local or national papers, didn’t necessarily mean she was alive. She could have died in another part of Norway, or even abroad.
The amazing thing about Norway is that all information about individuals is public. If you want to know somebody’s address of phone number, all you need to do is to make an internet search, or use a smartphone app, and voilà. I often wished it was like that in London the times I managed to misplace work contacts. But with social media, finding people had become easier all over the world. But the crazy thing about this public information thing is that you can even check how much money a person makes by going to the tax registers. It’s perhaps handy if you’re hunting for a millionaire spouse, but otherwise I’m not really a fan of that particular thing.
I found three Arlette Johnsens on 1881. The first one Arlette Frydenlund Johnsen was a photographer in Bergen. The second, Arlette Cathrine Johnsen a private insurance consultant in Oslo. The third one Arlette Johnsen Lund was not my grandmother either, but a school teacher in Bodø.
I did a more general google search and found two of the three Arlettes on Facebook. I added the word obituary to the search, but nothing came up.
I was a little bit at a loss of what to do now. I didn’t like giving up after just ten minutes of detective work, but I really wasn’t sure where to look now. I thought of the possibility that she could be in an old people’s home somewhere. Or even that her addresses and phone number was protected. That can happen if someone for some reason cannot be listed in the main register for several reasons. Celebrities or abuse victims for example had secret phone numbers. I got up and made a cup of tea while I was thinking. Of what to do next. I was stubborn, and I didn’t want to pull in help from Merete or Markus on something which should be that easy.
As the caffeine slowly entered my system, I decided that the best thing I could do after first doing a last search on people called Arlette, was to ring around every old people’s home in Grimstad, Lillesand and Kristiansand.
Not having any luck with the Arlettes, I started phoning twenty minutes later. At first it was awkward. But the more homes I spoke to, the easier it got. There was no Arlette Johnsens or Arlette anything else for that matter. By the time I got to the absolute last home on my list, my hope had gone. I replied a
“Please, could I talk to Arlette Johnsen?” in a flat, tired voice to the cheery “Hello” from the lady on the line.
“Arlette Johnsen. May I ask whose calling?”
“What? I mean, sure. My name is Sandra Martinsen. I am….” I swallowed, not believing that I was soon, perhaps, going to talk to my paternal grandmother. “I’m her granddaughter.”
The woman at the other end of the line was quiet for a couple of seconds.
“Is that so?” she asked finally.
“I didn’t know until recently,” I said. “I am the daughter of her son Frank who disappeared in 1986.”
I wasn’t sure if the nurse, I assumed she was a nurse, knew about that. But it was worth trying.
“I know about Frank,” she said. Arlette talks about him sometimes. On bad days she cries for him and wish he could come visit her.”
Her words made me feel very sad for the grandmother I had yet to meet. At the same time, I was thrilled that she was alive.
“Has, is she getting a lot of visitors?” I asked.
“Sadly no. Arlette is a lovely lady. It’s a mystery to me that such a gentle soul doesn’t have family and friends who care for her.”
“I would really love to see her.”
“I’m sure that’s possible. But let me talk to her first and tell her you called. I will call you back.”
“Sure. I understand. It’s not every day granddaughters pop up like that,” I said with a little laugh.
I gave her the number to Emma’s landline and was grateful that she still had it, though most people had gotten rid of theirs. I really needed to get a Norwegian sim card so I could call and use the internet when out too, I thought. Doing this kind of work without being mobile was slowing me down as it bound me to the house. Calling to and from my British number was just too expensive.
Astrid, the nurse at the home where Arlette lived, called half an hour later.
“I’ve got Arlette here with me. She would like to ask you a few questions.”
“Yes, of course,” I said and sat down on a kitchen chair.
“Hello?”
The voice belonged to an elderly woman and the hello was more like a question than a statement.
“Hi. You must be Arlette Johnsen,” I said with the most reassuring voice I could master.
“I am,” she said. “And you are Sandra, my granddaughter.”
This came out as a statement rather than a question.
“I am,” I said. “I realize how very strange this situation is. I mean, here I call you after having been gone for nearly thirty years without ever contacting you or anything.”
“I understand.” Arlette’s voice was friendly. “I know that you couldn’t possibly have been in touch before. But I am very glad you called now. And I’m positively surprised that you found me. You’re like your father, Frank. He managed to dig up the most impossible things from the most impossible places. He was a journalist. I had a feeling you would find me one day.”
“Oh really?” I was stunned to hear this.
“Yes, absolutely. Where are you now?”
“I’ staying with my aunt Emma in Homborsund.”
“Emma. I remember her. Though I didnn’t really meet her that many times. She wouldn’t know if I’m dead or alive. Most people I know don’t know. Their either dead, or I have no wish to let them know. When can you come?”
Today! I wanted to shout. I looked at the time and realized I’d better come tomorrow instead. I was meeting Emma at her job in a couple of hours to help with the preparations for a summer party that was to be held this coming Friday. The party this year would be extra big as the company celebrated 40 years and the first ever CEO would be there. There would even be guests from abroad who had worked for or with the company in the past and the present. Funny how many round birthdays there had been in the past 8 days, I thought.
“How about tomorrow?” I said.
“Tomorrow would be absolutely delightful. I can’t wait to see you. But tell me one thing. I know my granddaughter Sandra has a tactile birthmark. Can you tell me where yours is?”
“On my neck. I have a tactile birthmark at the back of my neck.”
I almost asked how she knew about it, but realized she must remember it from when I was a baby. I hated that particular birthmark and had wanted to surgically remove it. But I’d been told it wasn’t serious, or damaging enough, so it was still there.
“You really are my granddaughter,” she said sounding relieved. “I’ll see you tomorrow then Sandra at 11:00. We have a lot to talk about.”
I got up to get ready for travelling in to Grimstad. As I looked out of the kitchen window to see the temperature and assess the weather, I could swear I saw someone retract very quickly from my line of vision. Probably the shadows playing a trick on me. Although it made me feel uneasy.

Episode 6. Skagen

Skagen
June 6th
“Sandra, please wake up.” Someone was shaking me out of a dream where I was at the opening of the youth centre and where everyone except me had dressed up as unicorns. And I was told off because I didn’t know we were supposed to dress up as unicorns.
“Sandra, wake up.”
I groaned and slowly opened my eyes. My body was heavy, as if I was sick and my mouth was dry. Emma was leaning over me with a cup of coffee in her hand which she put down on the bedside table.
“What time is it?” I groaned and pulled myself up into a sitting position. God I was tired.
“It’s five. Happy birthday. You’ve got to be down in 30 minutes, because as your birthday treat, I’m taking you to spend the day in Skagen.”
I was suddenly wide awake. I hadn’t been to Skagen since I was a teenager. I loved the atmosphere of the small Danish town by the sea. Moreover, I also enjoyed going on the boat from Kristiansand to Hirtshals. It meant buffets and duty-free shopping. And I was definitely in the mood for both. I picked up the coffee and started sipping it, trying not to burn my tongue. “I’ll be down,” I assured Emma. “And thanks.”
Thirty, I thought as I tried to decide what to wear. A nice, round even number. In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I’d been sort of panicking about this day. Leaving the comfortable young twenties. Thirty sounded so grown-up. But now that the day was here, it didn’t feel all that bad. Or perhaps it would later, but for now, thirty felt pretty good. In the end I decided on some raspberry pink three-quarter length pair of stretchy trousers, a navy blue t-shirt that was short at the front and longer at the back and my light windbreaker. I put my hair in a loose pony tail. I knew the walk to Grenen, (the branch) where the Baltic Sea met the Northern Sea would be both wet and windy, so I had to dress practically, choose clothes I didn’t mind getting wet in, but since it was my birthday, still made me look neat and pretty.
Emma had brought one flask of coffee and one of tea so that we could keep ourselves caffeinated throughout the journey. We drank coffee in silence as we waited in the queue at Kristiansand port to be let onto Superspeed 1, the ship. There were a lot of people who were going on a shop till you drop trip. There were families with children, elderly men and women who drove too slowly and today, there were a disturbing number of defect Polish cars. I hadn’t yet told her about the articles I’d found yesterday. There was a lot for me to digest and I had spent our one and a half hours of swimming and our lovely Italian meal afterwards doing just that. It was so crazy and complicated. It seemed as if everybody in Homborsund was related to each other in one way or another. Even Gerda was kind of my step-grandma twice over. Her first husband being my paternal grandpa and the second one my maternal great uncle. I wondered what other surprises would come tumbling out when I dug a little deeper. As we sat in the car, I decided that this evening was perhaps a good time to talk. I was going to Denmark for the day, it was my birthday and He would not know I was in Denmark, so I decided it was entirely ok and appropriate for me to just enjoy the day for what it was. Markus had contacted his cousin Merete who was more than happy to meet me on Monday after work. He had also asked if I wanted to go for a coffee some time, which I did. It was good to get to know some people around here. Even if I did end up returning to my old life in London, which was unlikely at this stage, having friends would give me more excuses to come back here often. And if not, if I stayed, I really had to make some new friends.
Finally, we were being let on to deck three behind a midlife crises, a.k.a. sports car belonging to a man in his forties who refused to admit even to himself that he was in his forties, and a defect Polish. DP for short. Emma had booked breakfast buffet for us and by taking the stairs, we managed to avoid the worst of the cackling hens, a.k.a. those middle aged to elderly ladies who always find out that having a conversation on the ship, is most meaningful in the middle of a shopping isle, at the checkout or on the stairs. But most of them seemed to have chosen the less tiresome option of the lift. A young waiter ticked us off on his notepad and showed us to our table. I was starving.
After eating ourselves silly at the buffet, we sat down with a cup of coffee each to browse the deals catalog before embarking on shopping. If someone tries to say that shopping isn’t good, calorie burning physical activity, I’m inclined to disagree. After having walked around and bought a few things we needed, a few things we felt strongly that we needed, and as much wine and gin as our quota would allow, navigate the cackling hens and general crowd, I was certain I must have burned at least 1000 calories. It was all exactly like I remembered, except, I couldn’t remember Captain Kid, the childminder sounding quite so ridiculously cheerful. I wonder how he managed to master that so early in the morning. Probably huge amounts of caffeine. I’d need at that, and some other mood altering substance if I was to handle strange children at all. Probably the reason why I’d never become a nursery nurse or teacher.
My phone vibrated as we drove into Hirtshals. I jumped, thinking I’d left the phone at home. But it was only a “Welcome to Denmark” text message informing me of calling and texting rates.
The drive to Skagen took about half an hour. We decided that the first thing we wanted to do was Grenen. It was warm outside, but love and behold, we’d not taken our bathing suits with us. “If we had brought them, the weather would have been shit,” Emma said as we walked down towards the water. Dipping our toes, it was a little cold at first, but as we waded out towards the point called Grenen, the water felt warm around our ankles. One is not really supposed to either swim or walk in the water around the area. When it’s windy, it is very very windy and it could be dangerous with currents. But everybody does it and nobody really says anything.
After about three quarters of an hour, we finally reached Grenen. Having one foot in each ocean is one of my favourite feelings in the world. You can really feel that it is two oceans because the waves are actually going in different directions and are colliding. The Baltic Sea is also ever so slightly warmer than the Northern Sea.
When we returned to the car an hour later, we had a quick tea and chocolate orange cake break, before we went to the sandy church. It wasn’t a favourite of mine like Grenen, but since we were there, we might as well. The sandy church is a church completely covered with sand, but still possible to enter. The tower is the only thing sticking up. I have the feeling of stepping a thousand years back in time when I enter that building though the church isn’t more than a few hundred years old. And walking up in the tower, I think of a book I once read, The diary of Idilia Dubb, which is the authentic diary of a young Scottish woman who died of hunger in a tower of some castle ruins. She was unable to get down, and nobody heard her cries. Only on the fourth day, her German lover came to find her there, dead. Luckily for me though, the church had a few other tourists climbing up in the tower and there were no crumbling stairs. The view was gorgeous too and we could see all the way towards the Baltic sea.
“It’s just crazy.” We had gone to Jensens Bøfhus for our dinner. Another tradition from the past. I stabbed some feta cheese onto my fork. “Everyone seem to be related somehow in Homborsund.”
I was telling Emma about the revelations of yesterday. Of course she hadn’t been shocked about what I had to say. She knew about Nils Strand being my great uncle. “I never knew him of course,” she said as our food, chicken fillets, vegetables and crisp like potatoes were put in front of us on the table. He died five years before I was born.”
“Have you any idea who Karl Lund is?” I said, pulling out the copy of the opinion column. “She scanned it and shook her head.
“I really don’t know. We don’t always know everyone around.” She laughed and tucked into her food. “And as for your mum having an affair, I don’t know that either. She’d hardly tell her kid sister.”
Full and happy with the day, we walked along the pier, past happy Norwegians drinking beer and chatting and walked towards our car.
For most of the journey back to Kristiansand we sat quietly reading a book each. We only got up towards the end to buy stuff from the food shop.
We reached Homborsund after midnight and started unloading the car. I was totally ready for both bed and a lie-in. tomorrow; I decided to talk to Gerda to find out who my grandma Arlette was and whether she was still alive. Emma had already walked into the house, so I picked up the last bags and double checked that the car was locked. It was then I saw her by the hedge. I completely co-incidentally looked over my shoulder, to see a lady standing there. I couldn’t work out much because it was dark, except for her long coat and elaborate hat. But before I had time to really take her in, she was gone.

Episode 5. Preliminary investigations

Preliminary investigations
June 5th
I woke up early the next morning and Emma and I had coffee and breakfast together. “I can probably knock off early today,” Emma said. “Is there anything you’d like to do?” I stared out of the window. The sky was grey and it looked like it could start raining any minute.
“What’s there to do?” I asked.
“Hmm. How about we go swimming and then eat out somewhere?”
“Ok. But could I get a lift with you now into town? I’d like to go to the library.”
I wanted to check the old newspapers to see if I could find something about the mid-summer murders, and perhaps also somethings about the brother and father I never got to know.
“Sure. Be ready in fifteen and I’ll drop you there.”
The library was full of what I assume to be young primary school children. They sat on chairs around an elderly friendly looking female librarian who were reading out loud to them from a storybook. I decided to go up to the counter and ask for help. The newspapers I was looking for were older than a few years, so they might not be lying around.
A guy around my age looked up from a book he was reading and smiled at me as I approached the counter. He had a cute face with brown eyes and a freckly nose. His hair was dark brown and curled very nicely around his slightly outstanding ears.
“How can I help you?” he asked. His voice was neither high nor deep and he had the sing song dialect of Kristiansand, one of the southernmost towns in Norway.
“Hi,” I said, feeling a smile come over my face. This guy was really quite cute. “I am looking for old newspapers. From 1984 and 85. And…” When was it that Sven Mikkelsen, my grandma had drowned? “Is it possible to find out when somebody drowned in Homborsund?”
I knew my question was very clumsy, but there was no other way to ask that I could think of. The guy smiled and started typing something into a computer.
“What kind of papers are you looking for?” he asked.
“Local papers. And if I can find out when that person died, local papers from that time too.”
“It’s possible to look in the registers and find out when somebody died if you have their name and place of birth or death. But I unfortunately don’t have that access here and now.”
I stood in thought for a while before telling him that if he could find the local papers concerning news from Grimstad and Homborsund from 1984 and 1985, I might be able to find out when the other person had died. Perhaps in the obituaries of baby Sven and Frank, my dad, there was some sort of mention of Sven Mikkelsen and when he drowned.
“Why do I get the feeling you’re playing detective Nancy Drew? He asked smiling. I felt my cheeks go red and answered with a laugh.
“My name is Markus by the way.” He held out his hand and I shook it. “I’m Sandra,” I replied. “I haven’t seen you around here before. Have you just moved?”
“I suppose you could say that. I’m on a break here from London. I live and work there, but here, I’m staying with my aunt in Homborsund.”
“Oh really, that’s interesting,” Markus said. “Have you by any chance heard of the mid-summer murders in Homborsund?”
I stared at him, not knowing quite what to say.
“Yes, I have. In fact, it’s part of what I’m researching.” “Is that so?” Markus got up and walked around the desk towards me. “I’m from Kristiansand originally, but I’ve lived in Grimstad for a few years now. My cousin Merete is working for Grimstad Daily News, the local paper here. And she is doing a feature on the mid-summer murders.” “Oh really? How come?” “I’m not sure. But she mentioned something about it being ninety years since the first murder and forty-five since the last, so it’s a kind of commemoration piece. One of the great mysteries of this area. Plus, it might also just be a summer filler. You know local papers.” He shrugged.
I felt giddy from this information. What a coincidence.
“Would it be possible to link up with her and perhaps get some information?”
“I’m sure that can be fixed. Let me call her. I’m sure she’d be delighted to see you sometime next week. In the meantime, I’ll dig around and see what I can find from 1984 and 1985. Just sit over there and wait for me, or browse the shelves if you like.”
Fifteen minutes later, Markus came over to where I was sitting reading a more current newspaper. “It took a while. And we might not have every single paper produced in 1984 and 85, but this is what I could found. And if you need more, Merete will surely be of help. “He put down the box and sneezed a couple of time. “The archive room was well labeled, but extremely dusty,” he said apologetically. “Now, you let me know if I can do anything else for you. I’ll give Merete a call.”
I started looking systematically through the papers since I wasn’t sure how else to start. The Daily News was just like any other local paper in any other part of the world. News that may have interest to the locals, but a lot of which really wasn’t so much news as page fillers. I have a thing for local papers. Wherever I travel, if I speak the language, which I don’t really do in most countries except France, Italy or Spain, I’m not fluent; I get a local paper and sit at a local café for breakfast if I can. It teaches me stuff about a place that you won’t learn from guidebooks and gives you a little taster of what life is like there.
When I came to December 14th 1984, I found baby Sven’s death notice…
Sven André Mikkelsen, born October 4th 1983, died yesterday December 13th 1984 from a heart failure which was present from birth. Mum Eline, dad Frank, Aunty Emma, Grandma, Josephine and grandma Arlette miss you. Rest in Peace. There was a picture of him. He had looked very similar to me as a baby, except my hair had been a lighter blond. He was fat and looked happy and healthy. I am not usually the sentimental type, but the sight of him, sitting in his baby chair with a spoon in his hand made my eyes water. My brother. I wish I’d known about him at least even if I never got to meet him.
I didn’t find any more interesting article for the first half of 1985, except the news of my birth.
“We are the proud parents to a beautiful daughter, Sandra Mikkelsen and Emma is proud to be an aunt again and grandmas Josephine and Arlette wish their new grand-daughter welcome to life.” Eline and Frank Mikkelsen.
There was a picture of mum and, dad; it was a strange word even to think, and me. Mum looked down on me with a very tender expression. She was wearing a blue summer dress I remembered from when I was little. My dad was very tall with brown hair and blue eyes which looked friendly. He held a protective arm around mum. I was so newborn that I hadn’t yet started to look cute. I was wearing something pink, and had a little white hat on my head. I was sleeping. I put that paper aside with the other paper announcing my brother’s death. I wanted to copy those pages so I had some kind of proof that they had once existed. I wondered if grandma Arlette, Sven Mikkelsen’s mistress was still alive. There was a possibility. I’d look at the 1881 register online when I was finished with the papers.
The disappearance of my dad was first mentioned September 5th 1986
“Police confirm that Frank Mikkelsen 32, who lives in Homborsund with his wife and baby daughter, has been missing since August 30th. He was last seen in his garden by neighbours around 17.00 hours. If anybody knows anything about his movements thereafter or any other helpful leads, please contact the police.”
The next article was published two days later.
“There has still been no sign of the missing Homborsund man Frank Mikkelsen. However, his clothes and driver’s license were found by a Grimstad citizen who wants to remain anonymous as she was driving to visit her brother in Homborsund. “It was pure luck I found it,” the 40-year-old woman says. “I heard a funny sound coming from the car, and wanted to stop and investigate before something serious would happen. I saw something in the bushes nearby, got intrigued and picked it up. I of course went straight to the police.”
Further tips are most welcome.”
There were a few more articles about Frank Mikkelsen still missing that were of no interest and a rather shocking, but short news story that informed me that my mum was currently being questioned by the police about her husband’s disappearance. Two days after that, the paper informed me that Eline Mikkelsen was held in custody, suspected of being behind the disappearance. And then, published on September 29th 1986, I found a very spiteful column/opinion piece that immediately drew my attention.
“Frank Mikkelsen still missing. Could the wife be guilty?
Having your baby son die of a heart weakness and then having your husband disappear just like that less than a year later, sound like some kind of Hollywood drama. Only, this is not Hollywood. And this is not happening on our screen. No ladies and gentlemen, this is Homborsund and this plot is taking place in almost literally, your back garden.
What makes this story even more interesting is that Frank Mikkelsen’s father, the late Sven Mikkelsen was one of the victims of the mid-summer drownings outside Homborsund in 1954 when Frank was only one year old. And born to Sven’s mistress Arlette Johnsen out of wedlock, which in those days was a great shame, Frank did not have it easy as a child.
Many have questioned whether the mid-summer drownings have been all natural. The fact that they all happen on June 23rd, mid-summers eve and in the same place, seems too much of a coincidence.
As Frank’s wife Eline is being held in custody and questioned about her husband’s disappearance, I’m asking myself, and you too dear readers, could she have, for some reason chosen a similar type of disappearance for her husband, but chosen to not do it mid-summer eve as it would draw too much suspicion?
It may seem farfetched, but if I tell you, dear readers, that the late Nils Strand, the final known victim of the mid-summer drownings so far, was Eline’s uncle. And if I tell you that Eline reputedly has an affair, though I won’t mention names as nothing is confirmed, it may not seem that farfetched after all.”
The byline informed me that the article was written by a Karl Lund. And an news story written three days later, declared that my mum was out of custody due to lack of proof.