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Authors: Henning Mankell

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BOOK: The Troubled Man
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“I don’t want to interrupt,” said Wallander, “but was it really possible to stick to such a tight schedule when so many vessels were involved?”

“That was part of the point of the whole maneuver. What you need in wartime is not just a lot of money, but also a high degree of punctuality.”

Wallander gave a start when there was a loud thud on the roof of the lodge. Von Enke didn’t seem to react at all.

“A branch,” he said. “They sometimes fall down and hit the roof with quite a bang. I’ve offered to saw down the dried-out, dead oak tree, but nobody around here seems to have a chain saw. The trunk is enormous. I would guess that the oak dates from the middle of the nineteenth century or thereabouts.”

He reverted to his account of what happened at the end of August 1979.

“The fall maneuvers acquired some added spice that nobody had foreseen. The Baltic Sea south of Stockholm was hit by a severe southwesterly gale that the forecasters had failed to predict. One of our submarines, commanded by one of our best young captains, Hans-Olov Fredhäll, suffered rudder damage and had to be towed into Bråviken to wait there until we could take it back to Muskö. Those on board no doubt had a less than enjoyable time during the storm—submarines can roll like nobody’s business. And in addition, a corvette sprang a leak off Hävringe. The crew had to be taken off and transferred to another ship, but the corvette didn’t sink. Anyway, large parts of the exercise couldn’t be carried out as planned. The winds had slackened somewhat by the time we were ready for the last phase of the maneuvers. I must admit, I could hardly sleep for days before the imaginary meeting of the submarine and the tanker, but nobody seemed to notice that I was behaving any differently from usual. We dropped off the supreme commander, who was pleased with what he had seen. The captain on board the
suddenly and unexpectedly ordered full steam ahead, to check that his vessel was in tip-top condition. I was worried at first that we would pass the spot too soon, but the high waves prevented the destroyer from exceeding the speed I had based my calculations on. I spent the whole morning on the bridge. Nobody thought there was anything odd about that—I was a commander myself, after all. The captain had handed over responsibility for the ship to his deputy, Jörgen Mattsson. At a quarter to ten he handed me his telescope and pointed. It was raining, and very misty, but there was no doubt about what he had detected. There were two fishing boats ahead of us to port, sporting all the aerials and security equipment we were familiar with on Russian naval patrol boats. No doubt they didn’t have a single fish in their holds, but we could be certain that there were Russian technicians on board, listening to our radio communications. I should perhaps mention that we were in international waters; they had every right to be where they were.”

“So they were waiting for a submarine and a tanker?”

“Mattsson didn’t know that, of course. ‘What do they think they’re doing?’ he asked. ‘Way outside the area where our maneuvers are taking place?’ I still recall what I said in reply.
Perhaps they really are ordinary fishing boats
. But he wasn’t convinced. He called down to the captain, who came onto the bridge. The destroyer paused while we reported the presence of the fishing boats. A helicopter came and hovered around for a while before we moved on and left them alone. By then I had left the bridge and gone down to the cabin I used during the maneuvers.”

“So now you knew what you didn’t want to know?”

“It was an experience that made me feel sick, in a way that no bout of seasickness in the world could have achieved. I threw up when I came to my cabin. Then I lay down, thinking about how nothing could ever be like it had been before. There was no other possibility: the document I had forged had come into the hands of the Warsaw Pact countries. Louise could have had an accomplice, of course; that was what I hoped. I didn’t want her to be the direct link to the foreign intelligence services, but rather an assistant to a spy who had all the important contacts. But I couldn’t even bring myself to believe that. I had investigated her life in the tiniest detail and knew there was nobody she met regularly. I still had no idea how she operated. I didn’t even know how she had copied my forged document. Had she taken a photograph, or written it out? Had she simply memorized it? And how had she passed on the information? Even more important, of course, was where she got all her other secret documents. The sparse contents of my gun closet couldn’t be enough. Who was she cooperating with? I didn’t know, although I spent all my spare time for more than a year trying to work out what had happened. But I was forced to believe the evidence of my own eyes. I lay there in the cabin, and felt the vibrations from the powerful engines. There was no longer any escape. I had to acknowledge that I was married to a woman I didn’t know. Which meant that I didn’t know myself either. How could I have misunderstood her so fundamentally?”

Håkan von Enke stood up and rolled up the sea chart. When he had put it back on its shelf, he opened the door and went outside. What Wallander had heard still hadn’t sunk in. It was too big. And there were too many unanswered questions.

Von Enke came back in, closed the door, and checked that his fly was closed.

“You’re telling me about things that happened almost thirty years ago,” Wallander said. “That’s a long time. What about what’s happening now?”

Von Enke suddenly seemed reluctant, sullen, when he replied.

“What did I say when we began this conversation? Have you forgotten? I
said that I loved my wife. I couldn’t do anything to change that, no matter what she had done.”

“Surely you must have confronted her with what you knew.”

“Must I?”

“It was one thing for her to commit an offense against our country, but she had also let you down. Stolen your secrets. You couldn’t possibly have kept on living with her without telling her what you knew.”

“Couldn’t I?”

Wallander could hardly believe what he’d heard. But the man rolling the empty teacup between his hands seemed convincing.

“Are you telling me you didn’t say anything to her?”


“Never? That sounds implausible.”

“But it’s true. I stopped taking secret documents home with me. It wasn’t anything sudden or unexplained. When my duties changed, there was every reason for my briefcase to be empty in the evenings.”

“She must have noticed something. It’s impossible to believe she didn’t.”

“I never said anything to her. She was exactly the same as before. After a few years I began to think it had all been a bad dream. But of course, I might have been wrong. She might have realized that I’d seen through her. So we carried on sharing a secret without being sure what the other one knew or didn’t know. It went on like that until one day, everything changed.”

Wallander sensed rather than knew what he was referring to.

“You mean the submarines?”

“Yes. By then there was a rumor going around that the supreme commander suspected there was a spy in the Swedish defense forces. The first warning had come when a Russian defector spoke out in London. There was a spy in the Swedish military that the Russians valued extremely highly. Somebody a cut above the norm who knew how to get at the really significant information.”

Wallander shook his head slowly.

“This is difficult to understand,” he said. “A spy in the Swedish military. Your wife was a schoolteacher; she coached gifted young divers in her spare time. How could she have access to military secrets if your briefcase was empty?”

“I seem to recall that the Russian defector was called Ragulin. He was one of many defectors at that time; we sometimes found it difficult to tell them apart. Obviously, he didn’t know the name of or any details about the person the Russians more or less worshipped. But there was one thing he did know, and it changed the whole picture dramatically. For me as well.”


Von Enke put down the empty cup. It was as if he were bracing himself. As he did so, Wallander remembered that he had heard Hermann Eber talking about another Russian defector, by the name of Kirov.

“It was a woman,” he said. “Ragulin had heard that the Swedish spy was a woman.”

Wallander said nothing.

The mice were nibbling away quietly in the walls of the hunting lodge.


On one of the windowsills was a half-finished ship in a bottle. Wallander noticed it when von Enke left the table and went outside for the second time. It seemed that he was too distraught to continue, having been forced to admit to somebody else that his wife had been a spy. Wallander saw the tears in his eyes when he suddenly excused himself and left the room. He left the door open. Daylight was beginning to break outside, so there was no longer any risk that anybody might notice lights switched on in the lodge. When von Enke came back, Wallander was still engrossed in imagining the delicate work involved in making the tiny ship.

Santa Maria
,” said von Enke. “Columbus’s ship. It helps me to keep unwanted thoughts at bay. I learned the art from a sailor—an old naval engineer with alcohol problems. It wasn’t possible to allow him on board anymore. Instead he used to wander around Karlskrona, criticizing everybody and everything. But remarkably enough, he was a master of making ships in bottles, despite the fact that you’d have thought his hands shook far too much for that. I’ve never had the time to attempt anything of the sort until I came here to the island.”

“A nameless island,” said Wallander.

“I call it Blue Island. It has to be called something. Blue Moon and Blue Ridge are already taken.”

They sat down at the table again. By means of some kind of unspoken agreement they had each made it clear to the other that sleep could wait. They had begun a conversation that needed to be continued. Wallander realized that it was his turn now. Håkan von Enke was waiting for his questions. He started with what he considered the beginning.

“When you celebrated your seventy-fifth birthday,” Wallander began, “you wanted to talk to me. But I’m still not clear about why you chose to
talk about those events with me rather than somebody else. And we never really got to the point. There was a lot I didn’t understand. I still don’t understand it.”

“I thought you should know. My son and your daughter, our only children, will spend the rest of their lives together, we hope.”

“No,” said Wallander. “There was some other reason, I’m sure. And I have to say that I was very upset to discover you haven’t been telling me the whole truth.”

Von Enke looked at him in incomprehension.

“You and Louise have a daughter,” Wallander said. “Signe, who leads a sort of life at Niklasgården. So you see, I even know where she is. You’ve never said anything about her. Not even to your son.”

Håkan von Enke was staring at him. He had stiffened in his armchair. This is a man who is not often caught off guard, Wallander thought. But right now he is really on the spot.

“I’ve been there,” Wallander went on. “I’ve seen her. I also know that you visited her regularly. You were even there the day before you disappeared. We can choose to keep on not telling the truth, to turn this conversation into something that doesn’t clarify but merely makes what is unclear even more obscure. It’s our choice. Or rather, your choice. I’ve already made mine.”

Wallander eyed von Enke, wondering why he seemed to be hesitating.

“You’re right, of course,” said von Enke eventually. “It’s just that I’m so used to denying Signe’s existence.”


“It was for Louise’s sake. She always felt strangely guilty about Signe. Despite the fact that Signe’s handicaps weren’t caused by something that went wrong during childbirth, or by something Louise had done or eaten or drunk while she was pregnant. We never spoke about Signe. As far as Louise was concerned, she simply didn’t exist. But she existed for me. I was always tormented by not being able to say anything to Hans.”

Wallander said nothing. It suddenly dawned on von Enke why.

“You told him? Was that necessary?”

“I would have regarded it as shameful if I hadn’t told him he had a sister.”

“How did he take it?”

“He was upset, which is understandable. He felt cheated.”

Von Enke shook his head slowly.

“I’d made a promise to Louise, and I couldn’t break that promise.”

“That’s something you have to talk to him about yourself. Or not. Which leads me to an entirely different question. What were you doing in Copenhagen a few days ago?”

Von Enke’s surprise was genuine. Wallander felt that he now had the upper hand; the key was how to exploit that in order to make the man on the other side of the table tell the truth. There were still a lot of questions to be asked.

“How do you know I’ve been in Copenhagen?”

“I’m not going to answer that question at the moment.”

“Why not?”

“Because the answer is of no significance. Besides, I’m the one asking the questions now.”

“Am I suppose to interpret that to mean I’m now being subjected to a police interrogation?”

“No. But don’t forget that you have subjected your son and my daughter to incredible stress and strain since you went missing. To tell you the truth, I’m furious when I think about how you’ve behaved. The only way you can keep me calm is to give honest answers to my questions.”

“I’ll try.”

“Did you make contact with Hans?”


“Did you intend to?”


“What were you doing there?”

“I went to withdraw some money.”

“But you said just now that you hadn’t been in touch with Hans. As far as I’m aware, he oversaw your and Louise’s savings.”

“We had an account with Danske Bank that we kept control of ourselves. After I retired I did some consultancy work for the manufacturers of a weapons system for naval vessels. They paid in U.S. dollars. Obviously, some tax evasion was involved.”

“What kind of sums are we talking about?”

“I can’t see how that could be of any relevance. Unless you intend to report me for tax evasion?”

BOOK: The Troubled Man
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