Authors: Elsebeth Egholm
|Three Dog Night|
Ex-convict Peter Boutrup has moved to remote, rural eastern Denmark to
start a new life and leave his past behind. But when a young woman goes
missing on New Year's Eve and he then discovers the body of Ramses, an
old acquaintance from prison, things start to unravel. Two days after
the disappearance they find the body of a young girl in the harbour -
she is naked, attached to an anchor and her face has been torn off. Is
this the body of the missing woman and is it connected with Ramses'
murder? Peter Boutrup must accept that the answer lies hidden in the
past that he is trying to forget.
Copyright Â© 2013 Elsebeth Egholm
The right of Elsebeth Egholm to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.
First published as an Ebook by HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP in 2013
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library
eISBN: 9780 7553 9812 6
HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP
An Hachette UK Company
338 Euston Road
London NW1 3BH
Table of Contents
Elsebeth Egholm is a Danish author and journalist who lives in Jutland, Denmark. She has written ten books and in 2011 published
Three Dog Night
which was the start of a new series introducing ex-convict Peter Boutrup and was an instant bestseller.
Meet Peter Boutrup.
He thought he was finished with the past.
But it wasn't finished with him â¦
It's the coldest winter in memory as ex-convict Peter Boutrup moves to remote, rural Denmark to start a new life.
But when a young woman goes missing on New Year's Eve and Peter discovers the body of Ramses, an old acquaintance from prison, things start to unravel.
Two days after the disappearance the body of a young girl is found in the harbour â she is naked, attached to an anchor and her face has been torn off. Is this the body of the missing woman and is it connected with Ramses' murder? And could Peter's strange new neighbour, Felix, be involved?
Peter Boutrup just wants peace and quiet but he must accept that the truth lies hidden in the past he is trying to forget.
Populated by a cast of characters from the underbelly of Danish society,
Three Dog Night
is a fast paced thriller that paints a picture of a rarely seen side of Denmark.
âDenmark's Queen of Crime'
âThrilling and brutal'
âA highly recommended, bleak and captivating crime novel'
âBoth plot and characters go full throttle â¦ How it all connects is both surprising and imaginative'
âThe story is captivating and well told. The book has some cleverly turned twists in a focused narrative where the expected truths emerge during the dramatic final stand-off'
LL HE COULD
think about was getting home.
As he walked he put distance between himself and the noise of the party. Behind him, New Year's Eve fireworks soared into the sky, scattering colourful parachutes into the night. Elsewhere, the landscape was lit by snow and the moon.
A few fireworks reached his half of the sky. Ahead of him, towards the sea, there was only silence and a world in black and white. The New Year had been born in an explosion of frost and threats of impending snow; ill-tempered and foul, like a portent of evil, if you believed in that kind of thing.
He liked walking. It made him conscious of his body. He strode as quickly as he could to keep the cold at bay. The freezing temperature tightened his face into a mask. He could easily have taken his van because he'd only had a couple of beers. That was how it was ever since the surgery. He had no desire to abuse his body any more than he already had. Smoking was a thing of the past, too. He was like Lucky Luke now: he preferred milk to whisky. Only occasionally, when he was with friends, would he let go and drink himself senseless.
The closer he got, the more difficult it was to make headway. He could
already see the houses. It wasn't far from the party to the cliff, where two of the three fishermen's cottages were illuminated. The lights were on in his cottage, of course â he had left them on â but also in the neighbouring cottage, where a woman had recently moved in. Her lights were on day and night, as though she never slept. He had only seen her a few times. Once he had nodded to her, but she hadn't nodded back. There was something about her that intrigued him, though.
The wind whipped up the snow, forming it into drifts, and over the last fifty metres to the cottage it was up to his ankles. His nameplate was hidden under snow and ice. He brushed off the crystals with a glove: Peter A. Boutrup. He had screwed the sign to the door on the day he had returned, more than a year ago. It signified more than just his name. It was a decision: this was where his life and his future lay, and the past would have to take care of itself.
Perhaps the beers had had an effect after all, or maybe the cold had frozen his brain, because it was only now that he noticed a column of smoke rising from the chimney. The thought was just forming that he had a visitor when he heard his dog barking.
He went to unlock the door and found it open. A second later, he could smell cigarette smoke. The dog stopped barking and came to meet him, grovelling with a guilty expression on its face. And not without reason. The fire was roaring in the fireplace. Stinger lay snoring, stretched out the length of the sofa. There was an empty bottle of vodka on the coffee table and a saucer had been used as an ashtray. Peter counted nineteen cigarette butts and calculated that his guest had only just arrived. His clothes were crumpled, he reeked of booze, smoke and stale sweat, and there were holes in his socks. The tattoos on his hands and arms were blurred and had been scratched until they bled because he had developed an allergy to the cheap ink injected into his skin â probably the same type that Stinger injected into his customers; hence the nickname.
âWakey wakey, Stinger!'
He tried unsuccessfully to shake some life into the man on the sofa while Kaj growled with hypocritical ferocity. Yes, the dog could be fierce, but it could easily tell friends and enemies apart, and Stinger was a friend, even though Peter was not exactly looking for company right now.
He gave up trying to wake Stinger, put a screen around the fireplace and, as was his wont, dragged a mattress on to the balcony and went to sleep with the dog snuggled up against the Arctic sleeping bag, burying its nose in a lambskin fleece. He could have done with a couple of extra dogs tonight, he thought, his teeth chattering from the cold. Aboriginal Australians used tame dingoes to keep warm on cold nights: a dog on each side and â if it was really cold, like tonight â a third on top. The first night of the New Year was one of those: a three-dog night. The weather forecast had warned that temperatures might fall to minus thirteen.
He wriggled down into the sleeping bag and felt the dog's body close to his. An ocean of stars glittered in the sky and he watched the remainder of the night's fireworks making a feeble attempt to impress. The frost nipped at his face and he closed the top of the sleeping bag until his breathing defrosted his skin. A three-dog night. The words evoked frostbite and fateful events. New Year's Eve partygoers were out in the cold, many in flimsy clothes and a novelty hat, alcohol pumping through their bloodstreams. On a night like this, winter was more than a match for humanity.
Before falling asleep, he suddenly realised why he was so intrigued by the dark-eyed woman in the cottage next door. He had only seen her from afar, but he had seen those same eyes before. Eyes whose questions he could not answer.
He looked up, found the brightest star and longed for his late girlfriend My.
Year's Day the light fell sharply across the cliff, painting the sea in violet and drawing the horizon out in a silver line. The snow reflected the low rays of sun in every direction, glistening like precious stones you could pick up and put in your pocket.
Stinger was still snoring as Peter got dressed. Leaving Kaj in the house, he drove down to see his boss, Manfred, who lived with his wife and two children in RimsÃ¸. On the roads and verges he saw New Year's Eve debris: empty bottles and scorched rockets and spent firework cakes. Confetti, paper streamers and a novelty hat or two had been thrown over snow-covered hedges.