The Catalyst Killing
The third mystery in the hugely compelling, bestselling international crime series from Norway's answer to Agatha Christie, Hans Olav Lahlum, The Catalyst Killing will have you guessing to the final clue. The first murder was only the spark… 1970: Inspector Kolbjorn Kristiansen, known as K2, witnesses a young woman desperately trying to board a train only to have the doors close before her face. The next time he sees her, she is dead… As K2 investigates, with the help of his precocious young assistant Patricia, he discovers that the story behind Marie Morgenstierne's murder really began two years ago, when a group of politically active young people set out on a walking tour in the mountains. There, one night, the party's charismatic leader – and Marie's boyfriend – Falko Reinhardt vanished without a trace. But were the relationships between this group of friends and comrades all they appeared to be? What did Marie see, that made her run for her life that day? And could both mysteries be linked to Falko's research into a cell of Norwegian Nazis he suspected may still be active? It soon becomes clear that Marie's death is not only a complex case in its own right, but will act as a catalyst in a dark set of events which will leave K2 and Patricia confronting their most dangerous and explosive investigation yet. And as the pair works hard to unravel the clues before Marie's killer can strike again, the detective fails to notice that his young assistant has her own problems to face.
I saw her for the first time, rather suddenly and unexpectedly, at nine minutes past ten in the evening of Wednesday, 5 August 1970.
Later that evening, I would find out the young woman’s name. But over the next seven dramatic days I would continue, in my mind, to call her ‘the woman on the Lijord Line’. Had I understood the reason for her behaviour there and then, it might not only have saved her life, but also the lives of several other people.
I had finished my evening shift a few minutes earlier with a fairly routine callout to a hotel by Smestad. If the manager there had been somewhat tense before the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, he had definitely become a touch paranoid since. He reported a new potential terrorist threat at the hotel roughly every other month. This time he had called about a guest whose behaviour was ‘suspiciously secretive’, one of the manager’s favourite expressions. The guest in question was a man who was possibly no more than thirty, though it was hard to say for certain because of his full beard and apparently suspiciously dark sunglasses. He was well dressed, spoke perfect Norwegian and had been politeness itself when he asked for a room with a balcony on the first floor. He had, however, not reserved a room in advance and did not give a postal address. The guest had said that he was not sure how long he would stay, but paid in cash for the first ten days at least. He did not want his room to be cleaned, and asked for a breakfast tray to be left in the hall outside his room every morning at nine o’clock. As long as the empty tray was put back out in the hall again, one could safely assume he was still there. And this had been the case for the past six days, but no member of staff had seen any other sign of life from the guest.