Authors: Torkil Damhaug
Se Meg, Medusa © Cappelen Damm AS, 2007, 2011
English translation © 2015 Robert Ferguson
The right of Torkil Damhaug to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Published by agreement with Cappelen Damm AS, Akersgata 47/49, Oslo, Norway
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 2015
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: 978 1 4722 0684 8
Cover design by
Cover photograph by David Clapp/Getty, Figure by Ibai Acevedo/Getty
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Torkil Damhaug studied literature and anthropology in Bergen, and then medicine in Oslo, specialising in psychiatry. Having worked as a psychiatrist for many years, he now writes full time. In 2011 Torkil’s third Oslo Crime Files novel, FIRERAISER, won the Riverton Prize for Norwegian crime fiction – an accolade also awarded to Jo Nesbø and Anne Holt – and his books have been published in fifteen languages. He lives with his wife and children near Oslo.
There are four deeply dark thrillers to discover in Torkil Damhaug’s Oslo Crime Files series: MEDUSA, DEATH BY WATER, FIRERAISER and CERTAIN SIGNS THAT YOU ARE DEAD.
A woman vanishes from a forest near Oslo. Days later her body is found, seemingly mauled and maimed by a bear. When another woman is reported missing and then found dead with the same scratches and bites, police find the link between them is local doctor, Axel Glenne.
Forensics reveal the women were murdered and a net of suspicion tightens around Axel, who is convinced his twin brother Brede is responsible. No one has seen him for years and if Axel is to prove his innocence, he needs to find Brede. And fast. But there isn’t a single photograph of the brothers together and neither Axel’s wife nor his children have ever met a man called Brede …
‘Exciting, original and disturbing’
‘Damhaug has now taken his place in the top ranks of Norwegian crime fiction writers’
‘One of the best-written and nerve-wracking works of crime fiction in a long time’
a thief. I’ve stolen before, but today I became a thief. People who know about such things say it’s the autumnal equinox today so that’s probably a good day on which to become a thief. Everything hangs in the balance before the darkness begins to take over. It wasn’t planned. I only plan the most necessary things. The rest just has to take care of itself. I was passing a shop and a Dictaphone caught my eye. I stopped and went back and entered the shop. The boy behind the counter seemed dull and uninterested. I got him to go looking for something I didn’t need. Then opened the box and stuffed the Dictaphone into my pocket. Not until I was back out on the street did I know what I would be using it for. And when you hear this, you’ll know too. Because one day you’ll hear exactly what I’m saying now. I don’t know yet how it’ll happen but I can see you in my mind’s eye lying there, listening to my voice, completely unable to turn away. You can throw letters away, or burn them. You can forget about me and tell yourself I’m dead even though you know I’m alive somewhere out there. But you will hear my voice and then you’ll remember everything you’ve said to me, and everything I’ve said to you.
Once you told me about those twins. You read so much and knew so much and wanted to share everything with me who hardly ever read. Was one of them named Castor? We were sitting in the classroom before the others came in when you told me about them. Castor and Pollux, that was their names. They were inseparable. And instead of going to heaven, one of them chose instead to go to hell, where the other one had ended up. To be with him. You’ve forgotten that you told me this but I don’t forget.
This is a good Dictaphone. You can delete and change things and insert individual words anywhere you like just by pressing a few buttons. But I don’t use them. I’m saying this to you, and you shall hear it exactly as it is, with no polishing and no frills. It’s the thought of this that makes me feel calm and excited at the same time. That you will know what you have done.
HE WOMAN SAT
motionless with her back to the window. Her arms hung straight down. Her pale grey face seemed frozen. She was dressed in green trousers and blouse, with a jacket the same colour loose over her shoulders. Her cheekbones were high and prominent and her eyes still greeny blue, but now the iris was narrowing inside a milky white rim. Outside, the wind lifted a bare birch branch behind her head.
Suddenly she glided her tongue over her teeth before opening her mouth and fixing her gaze on her visitor.
– I’ve been waiting all day, she said. – About time someone from the police could be bothered to turn up.
She stood up, tottered across the floor on her high-heeled sandals and checked that the door was closed behind him, came tripping back and sat down in the other chair, the one next to the writing desk. In flashes she still had that energetic way of moving, and she brushed a lock of her perm from her forehead with a gesture he knew well.
– The reason I have asked you to come … She interrupted herself, again went across the floor, opened the door and peered into the corridor outside.
– I don’t trust anyone in this place, she declared, closing it with a bang that was perhaps intended to underline what she said. Back in the brown leather chair, she smoothed her trousers over her knees.
– I’ve been waiting all day, she said again, now in a despairing voice. – I’ve got a missing person to report. The police must do something soon.
Her visitor was a man in his forties. He was wearing a hand-made suit, with a pale grey shirt underneath it. It was open at the neck, not that this made him look any the less well dressed.
– I came as quickly as I could, he said, and cast a glance at the clock.
– It’s about my husband, the woman went on. – He didn’t come home last night.
– I see, the visitor answered, and sat on the side of the bed, directly opposite her.
– He’s very particular always to let me know. But I haven’t heard a thing from him. Now I think something terrible has happened.
She moistened her dry upper lip with her tongue and smiled bravely.
– Do you know what the worst thing is?