The Blind Goddess

The Blind Goddess by Anne Holt

Book: The Blind Goddess by Anne Holt Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Holt
the office! And on a flaming Sunday as well!”
    He spat out the words, accusations of incompetence, without knowing who to blame. He stood in the middle of the room and stamped his foot in time with his own outbursts.
    “What the hell’s the point of locked doors and security precautions when anyone can attack us whenever they like!”
    The superintendent in charge of A 2.11, a stoical man in his fifties, listened to his ranting apparently unmoved. He said nothing until Håkon had calmed down.
    “It’s impossible to try and pin this on a particular individual. We’re not a fortress, nor do we want to be. In a building with a staff of almost two thousand, anyone could
have followed an employee through the staff entrance at the rear. It would simply be a matter of timing. You could just hide behind a tree near the church and walk in immediately after somebody who
had a pass. You’ve probably held the door open yourself for someone following you, whether you’ve known them or not.”
    Håkon didn’t reply, which the superintendent correctly took as an admission.
    “And in principle anyone could easily hide in the building while it’s open, in the toilets or whatever. It’s easy to get back out again. Rather than trying to discover how, we
should be asking ourselves why.”
    “It’s bloody obvious why,” Håkon raged. “This case, for God’s sake. This case! The file’s disappeared from Hanne’s office. Not a disaster in
itself, because we’ve got several copies, but someone’s definitely trying to find out how much we know.”
    He cut himself short and looked at the clock. His outburst of rage was abating.
    “I must dash. I’ve got to see the commissioner at nine. Do me a favour: ring the hospital and ask whether Hanne can receive visitors. Leave a note in my room as soon as you
know.”
    Lady Justitia was magnificent. She stood some thirty centimetres high on the huge desk, the oxidised bronze redolent of considerable age. The blindfold round the eyes was
almost entirely green, the sword in her right hand a reddish colour. But the flat bases of the two weighing pans were completely shiny. Håkon could see they were real scales, swaying slightly
in the current of air created by his entry into the room. He couldn’t restrain himself from touching the statue.
    “Gorgeous, isn’t she?”
    The uniformed woman behind the huge desk was stating a fact rather than asking a question.
    “Had it from my father as a birthday present last week. It stood in his office all his working life. I’ve admired it ever since I was a little girl. It was bought in the USA, in the
late 1890s. By my great-grandfather. It may be valuable. Very attractive anyway.”
    She was Oslo’s first female police commissioner. Her predecessor in the post, a fine upstanding man from Bergen, had been controversial and perpetually at odds with his staff. But
he’d had an integrity and energy that had been lacking in the history of the force when he’d taken on the job seven years previously. He’d bequeathed a much better organisation
than the one he’d inherited, but it had cost him dearly. Both he and his family were relieved when he retired, a little early, but with his honour intact.
    The forty-five-year-old woman who now sat in the commissioner’s chair was of a different calibre altogether. Håkon couldn’t bear her. She was an arty-farty northerner from
Trøndelag, more devious than anyone he’d ever met. She’d been manoeuvering herself towards the top position throughout her police career: keeping in with all the right people,
going to all the right parties, and sipping drinks with the right colleagues at prosecution service meetings. Her husband worked in the Ministry of Justice. That had done her no harm either.
    But she was undoubtedly very capable. If the old commissioner hadn’t elected to retire as soon as he could, she would have taken up an intermediate post, that of public prosecutor.
Håkon didn’t

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