The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye: Continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series (28 page)

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It might be a long shot, but it was still a reasonable supposition. The man in the video sequence was one of the few whom it had not been possible to identify after Jamal Chowdhury’s death. There were obvious similarities to the young man now approaching. If her suspicions were confirmed, this would also account for Faria’s silence during questioning.

Salander needed more video material. She stuffed her laptop into her bag, got up from the bench and called out. The runner slowed his steps and squinted at her in the sunlight. She pulled a hip flask of whiskey from an inside pocket of her jacket, took a slug and staggered sideways. The young man seemed unconcerned, but he stopped and stood there panting.

“Jesus, you can run,” Salander said, her speech slurred.

He did not answer. He looked as though he wanted to be rid of her and get in the entrance door, but she was not going to give up so easily.

“Can you do this?” she said, making a movement with her hand.

“Why?”

She had no good answer to that, so she took a step towards him:

“Because I want you to?”

“Are you stupid or something?”

She said nothing. She just glared at him with dark eyes. That seemed to scare him, so she decided to press her advantage. She lurched towards him with a threatening swagger and growled, “What was that?”

Then the man did move his hand as she wanted, either because he was scared or because he thought it was the quickest way to extricate himself. He ran off into his building without noticing that she had filmed him on her mobile.

She stood there and looked at her laptop, and watched as the nodes in her network were activated. Everything became clear. She had scored a hit, a correlation in the asymmetry of the fingers. Nothing which would stand up in court, but enough to convince her that she was right.

She walked towards the front entrance of the building. She did not know how she would gain access, but it turned out to be easy. The door gave way with a firm shove of her shoulder and she found herself in a shabby stairwell where everything looked either broken or delapidated. It reeked of urine and cigarette smoke and the lift was out of order. The walls were grey and covered with graffiti, visible thanks to the dim sunlight shining into the ground floor. But there were no windows in the stairwell and few functioning lights. It was stuffy and close and the steps were covered in litter.

Salander climbed the stairs slowly, focusing intently on the laptop balanced on her left arm. She paused on the third floor and sent the analysis of the hand motion to Bublanski and his fiancée Farah Sharif, who was a professor of computer sciences, and also to Giannini. On the fourth floor she put the laptop into her bag and looked at the nameplates. Furthest to the left was K. Kazi – Khalil Kazi. She straightened up and took a deep breath. Khalil was nothing much to worry about, but Giannini had heard that his older brothers came regularly to see him. Salander knocked at the door and heard footsteps. The door opened and Khalil stared at her, apparently no longer frightened.

“Hi,” she said.


Now
what?”

“I want to show you something. A film.”

“What kind of film?”

“You’ll see,” she said. He let her in. It seemed a little too easy, and soon she realized why.

Khalil was not alone. Bashir Kazi – she recognized him from her research – stared at her disdainfully. This was going to be as much of an aggravation as she had feared.

December, a year and a half earlier

Dan Brody was baffled. The woman simply refused to believe that he was not that Leo guy. She fiddled with her necklace and played with her hair, and said she would understand if he wanted to keep a low profile. She reminded him that she had always said he deserved better.

“You don’t seem to understand how amazing you are, Leo,” she said. “You never have. No-one at Alfred Ögren does. And certainly not Madeleine.”

“Madeleine?”

“Madeleine’s a total fool. To choose Ivar over you. That’s just
soooo
dumb. Ivar’s a fat dickhead and a loser.”

He thought she had a child-like way of speaking. But perhaps he was out of touch with modern Swedish. She was also nervous. Around them there was quite a commotion, people pushing past to buy drinks at the bar. Klaus and the other band members came to ask if Dan wanted to tag along for dinner. He shook his head and looked again at the woman. She was standing strangely close to him. Her breasts were heaving, and he caught a whiff of her perfume. She was very beautiful. It was like a dream. A nice dream, he thought, although he was not entirely sure. He was bewildered.

At the back of the club a glass broke. A man started shouting, and that made Dan grimace.

“I’m sorry,” the woman said. “Maybe you and Ivar are still buddies.”

“I don’t know an Ivar,” he said sharply.

The woman looked at him in such despair that he regretted it. He felt that he would say anything she wanted – that he was called Leo and knew Madeleine, and that Ivar was a dickhead. He did not want to disappoint her. He wanted her to be as happy and excited as she had been during his solo.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“That’s O.K.”

He stroked her hair. He was shy and reserved by nature, but tonight he wanted to pretend, if only for a short while. So he went along with it. He was Leo. Or rather, he no longer denied it. He packed his guitar in its case and suggested they go for a drink somewhere quieter.

They walked down Pestalozzistrasse. He had to be careful what he said, every word was a potential trap. Sometimes he thought she had found him out. At others, he thought she was playing along too. Was she not looking critically at his suit and shoes? His clothes, which until recently had seemed elegant, now felt cheap and ill-fitting. Was she toying with him? And yet she had known that he was Swedish. These days almost no-one knew about his origins.

They went into a small bar along the street and ordered margaritas. He let her talk and that gave him some clues. He still did not know her name, and he dared not ask. But she was apparently running – or helping to run – a pharmaceutical fund at Deutsche Bank.

“Can you imagine what a step-up that is, after all the crappy jobs Ivar gave me?”

He made a note of Ivar, Ivar who might have been called Ögren, as in Alfred Ögren Securities, where the woman had been working until recently, and where there was also someone called Malin Frode whom she regarded as a rival.

“I heard that you and Malin have been seeing a bit of each other?” she said.

He answered: “Not really. In fact not at all.”

He gave evasive answers to almost every question, although he was quite open about how he came to be playing with Klaus Ganz. Through contacts, he said. He’d been recommended by Till Brönner and Chet Harold.

“I played with them in New York. Klaus took a chance on me.”

The truth was, it was no gamble for any jazz band to hire him. He knew that much at least about his talents.

“But the
guitar
, Leo? You’re incredible. You must have been playing for years. When did you start?”

“In my teens,” he said.

“I thought only the grand piano and violin were good enough for Viveka.”

“I played on the sly.”

“The piano must have been useful, though. I recognized the harmonies when you played your solo, not that I’m an expert. But I remember hearing you at Thomas and Irene’s. It was the same feeling. The same vibe.”

The same feeling on a piano? What on earth did she mean? He wanted to ask, to have more clues. But he did not dare. He mostly kept quiet or simply smiled and nodded. Occasionally he would make a harmless remark, or tell her about something he had read somewhere. Such as – he had no idea how this came up – that the sleeper shark can live to the age of four hundred years, because it exists in slow motion.

“That’s dreary,” she said.

“And
loooong
,” he said in a protracted drawl, and that made her laugh. It did not take much to make her laugh, and he became more and more confident. He even dared to answer a question about where he thought the market was heading, “now that valuations are so full and with interest rates low”.

“Up,” he said. “Or down.”

She found that funny too, and he felt he was discovering something new: that he enjoyed playing a role, that it added something to his personality and helped him to enter a world which had until now been closed to him, a world of money and opportunity. It may have been the drinks. It may have been the way she was looking at him. He talked and talked and was pleased with what emerged.

More than anything, he was glad to be seen with her. He loved her refinement, which was impossible to describe and was so much more than just clothes, jewellery and shoes. It came out in small expressions and gestures: her slight lisp, her ease in talking to the barman. Her poise seemed to give him status. He looked at her hips and legs and breasts and knew he wanted her. He kissed her in the middle of a sentence. He was more forward than he would ever have been as Dan Brody. Outside the bar he pressed his groin against her.

At her hotel – the Adlon Kempinski next to the Brandenburg Gate – he took her hard and confidently. He was no longer an inhibited lover. She said wonderful things about him afterwards, and he said wonderful things about her too. He felt happy – happy like a fraudster who has pulled off a scam, but happy all the same. Maybe also a little bit in love, not only with her but with his new self too. He couldn’t sleep. He wanted to Google the names she had given him, to try to understand. But he resisted the temptation, he wanted to experience that on his own. He thought of sneaking off at first light, but she looked so lovely in her sleep, clean and clear, as if she were a superior being even in her dreams. She had a red mark on her shoulder. He liked every little blemish.

Just before 6.00 a.m. he wrapped his arms around her, whispered a thank you in her ear, and said that he had to go. To a meeting. She mumbled that she understood and gave him her business card. Her name was Julia Damberg. He promised to call “soon, very soon”. He dressed, took his guitar and left the hotel.

He started looking up Alfred Ögren Securities on his mobile during the taxi ride back to his hotel. The C.E.O. of the company was indeed Ivar Ögren. He really did look like a dickhead. A smug creep with double chins and small, watery eyes. But that was immaterial. Right underneath his picture was one of Leo Mannheimer, head of research and partner …

He could not believe it. It was insane. It was
his
picture. The man in the photograph was so like him that it made his head spin. He took off his seatbelt and leaned forward to catch a glimpse of his own face in the rear-view mirror.

That only made things worse. He smiled exactly like Alfred Ögren’s head of research. He recognized the folds around the mouth and the furrows in the forehead and also the nose, curly hair, everything, even the posture, although the man in the picture was better groomed. The suit was certainly in a different class.

Back in his hotel room, Dan kept Googling. He lost track of time and swore and shook his head. He was beside himself. They were devastatingly alike, only the context was different. Leo Mannheimer belonged to another world, another order. He was light years away from Dan, and yet not. It was incomprehensible. Most shattering of all was the music. Dan found an old recording from the Stockholm Concert Hall. Leo was probably twenty, perhaps twenty-one, and he looked tense and solemn. The auditorium was full, it was a semi-official performance in which Leo was a guest artist.

In those days no-one would have mistaken the one for the other. Dan was a long-haired bohemian in jeans and sweatshirts, while Leo was already the well-turned-out young man in the Alfred Ögren portrait, just a bit younger, with the same hairstyle and a similar tailor-made suit. Only the tie was missing. But none of that mattered.

When Dan saw the video, his eyes filled with tears. He cried not only because he realized that he had an identical twin, but also for the whole of his lonely life – his childhood on the farm, Sten’s beatings and his bullying demands, the work in the fields, the guitar smashed against the jetty, and his escape and journey to Boston and the first months of destitution. He cried for what he had never known and for everything he had had to do without. But most of all he cried for what he was hearing. In the end he took out his guitar and played along – fifteen years later and a world away.

It was not only the melancholy piece – apparently composed by Leo himself – but also the melodic base and harmony. Leo played with the same three-tone arpeggios as Dan’s at the time. Just like Dan, he used diminished chords without the flattened 5th, or the minor 7th without the flat 9th as most of the others did, and he often landed on the seventh tone in the Dorian minor scale.

Dan had believed himself to be unique when he came across Django and found his own path, so remote from all the rock and pop and hip hop his generation was absorbed in. But now there was a guy in Stockholm, someone who looked exactly like him, who had found the same harmonies and scales in an entirely different kind of world. It was impossible to fathom, and there was so much else bubbling to the surface – longing and hope, maybe also love, but above all, sheer wonder. He had a brother.

And that brother had grown up with a wealthy family in Stockholm. It was not only extraordinary, it was also deeply unjust. As he recalled later, the anger and the rage set in early, like a pounding force in the midst of everything else. At the time, Dan could not know how this had come about. But he thought about the Stockholm people with their tests, their questions and films. Had they known?

Of course they had. He smashed a glass against the wall. Then he looked up Hilda von Kanterborg’s number. It was only mid-morning, but Hilda did not sound sober and that annoyed him.

“It’s Daniel Brolin,” he said. “Do you remember me?”

“What did you say your name was?” she slurred.

“Daniel Brolin.”

He could hear laboured breathing on the other end of the line and also, he was not sure, he thought he could detect fear.

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