Taking charge of Copenhagen’s Special Search Agency, detective Louise Rick (Farewell to Freedom, 2012, etc.) catches the case of a young woman who’s been found dead more than 30 years after her death certificate was issued.
Responding to a public announcement, Agnete Eskildsen, a former care assistant at the Eliselund facility for the mentally disabled, identifies the distinctively scarred woman who recently took a fatal fall as Lisemette, who was one of the young patients at Eliselund a generation ago. The complication is that Lisemette turns out to be two people, Lise Andersen and her twin sister, Mette, and that they were both pronounced dead at age 17 on the same day back in 1980. Louise’s recent corpse is clearly Lise, but how can she have been alive (and having sex) until very recently—and what’s become of Mette, whom the Special Search Agency no longer has any reason to assume is actually dead? Ragner Rønholt, Louise’s new boss, wants her to mark the case closed now that she’s identified the dead woman, and you can see why. The murder of child care provider Karin Lund has reopened the search for a rapist who may have been preying on women in the neighborhood of Hvalsø ever since 23-year-old Lotte Svendsen went missing in 1991. But Louise, egged on by both her new colleague Eik Nordstrøm and her old friend Camilla Lind, keeps dogging the surviving staff at Eliselund until she uncovers long-buried secrets as ugly as you could wish.
This first installment of a new trilogy for Louise and the Special Search Staff is perhaps the most tightly knit of Blaedel’s grim procedurals.