'No. She wanted us to do something. That was how she put it: 'You have to do something.''

'What can we really do other than file the report? We've alerted Customs.'

They fell silent. It was already 8.45 a.m. Wallander looked questioningly at Martinsson.


Martinsson picked up the receiver and dialled Svedberg's number, then hung up.

'The answerphone again.'

Wallander pushed the postcard back across the table to Martinsson. 'I don't think we're going to get much further,' he said. 'But I think I'll have a talk with Eva Hillstrom. Then we'll evaluate what action to take from here. But we have no grounds for declaring this a missing persons case, at least not yet.'

Martinsson wrote her number on a piece of paper. 'She's an accountant.'

'And the father?'

'They're divorced. I think he called once, just after Midsummer.'

Wallander got up while Martinsson collected the papers. They left the conference room together.

'Maybe Svedberg did the same thing I did and took a day off without us being told about it.'

'He's already been on holiday,' Martinsson said emphatically. 'He hasn't got any holidays left.'

Wallander looked at him with surprise. 'How do you know that?'

'I asked him if he could switch one of his weeks with me. But he couldn't because for once he wanted an unbroken chunk of time.'

'I don't think he's ever done that before,' Wallander said.

They parted outside Martinsson's office and Wallander went to his office. He sat down at his desk and dialled the first phone number Martinsson had given him. Eva Hillstrom answered the phone. They agreed that she should come by the police station later that afternoon.

'Has anything happened?' she asked.

'No,' Wallander answered. 'I just think I should talk to you as well.'

He hung up and was about to go and get a cup of coffee when Hoglund appeared at his door. Although she had just returned from a holiday, she was as pale as ever. Wallander thought her pallor came from within. She still hadn't recovered from a serious gunshot wound of two years earlier. She was healed physically, but Wallander doubted how well she was emotionally. Sometimes he felt that she was still afraid. It didn't surprise him. Almost every day, he thought about the time that he had been stabbed. And that had happened more than 20 years ago.

'Is this a good time?'

Wallander gestured to the chair opposite his desk, and she sat down.

'Have you seen Svedberg?' he asked.

She shook her head.

'He was supposed to come to a meeting with me and Martinsson, but he didn't show up.'

'He's not one to miss a meeting.'

'You're right. But he did today.'

'Have you called him at home? Is he sick?'

'Martinsson left several messages on his answerphone. And besides, Svedberg is never sick.'

They contemplated Svedberg's absence for a while.

'What was it you wanted to talk to me about?' Wallander asked finally.

'Do you remember those Baltic car smugglers?'

'How could I forget? I worked on that miserable case for two years before we got them. At least the ones in Sweden.'

'Well, it seems as though it's started up again.'

'Even with the leaders in jail?'

'It looks like others have stepped in to fill their shoes. Only this time they aren't working out of Gothenburg. Their tracks point towards Lycksele, among other places.'

Wallander was surprised. 'Lapland?'

'With today's technology you can operate from virtually anywhere.'

Wallander shook his head, but he knew that Hoglund was right. Organised criminals always made use of the latest technology.

'I don't have the energy to start again,' he said. 'No more car smuggling for me.'

'I'll take it on. Lisa asked me to. I think she realises how tired you are of stolen cars. But I'd like you to outline the situation for me, as well as give me a couple of pointers.'

Wallander nodded. They set a time for the next day, then went and got some coffee and sat down by an open window in the canteen.

'How was your holiday?' he asked.

Her eyes suddenly filled with tears. Wallander went to say something but she stopped him with a gesture.

'It wasn't so great,' she said when she had regained her composure. 'But I don't want to talk about it.'

She picked up her cup of coffee and got up quickly. Wallander watched her leave. He remained seated, thinking about her reaction.

We don't know very much, he thought. They don't know much about me and I don't know much about them. We work together, maybe over the course of an entire career, and what do we learn about each other? Nothing.

He looked down at his watch. He had plenty of time, but he decided to set off walking down to Kapellgatan, where the doctor's office was. He was filled with dread.

The doctor was young. He was called Goransson and came from somewhere up north. Wallander told him about his symptoms: the fatigue, the thirst, the increased urination. He also mentioned his leg cramps.

The doctor's diagnosis was swift, and surprised him.

'It sounds like too much sugar,' he said.



For a split second Wallander was paralysed. The thought had never occurred to him.

'You look like you weigh a little too much,' the doctor said. 'We'll find out if that's the case. But I want to start off by listening to your heart. Do you know if you have high blood pressure?'

Wallander shook his head. Then he took off his shirt and lay down on the table.

His pulse was normal, but his blood pressure was too high. 170 over 105. He got on the scale: 92 kilos. The doctor sent him for a urinalysis and a blood test. The nurse smiled at him. Wallander thought she looked like his sister Kristina. After she had finished, he went back in to see the doctor.

'Normally you should have a blood-sugar level of between 2.5 and 6.4,' Goransson said. 'Yours is 15.3. That's much too high.'

Wallander started to feel sick.

'This explains your fatigue,' Goransson continued. 'It explains your thirst and the leg cramps. It also explains why you need to urinate so often.'

'Is there medication for this?' Wallander asked.

'First we'll try to control it by changing your diet,' Goransson said. 'We also have to reduce your blood pressure. Do you exercise frequently?'


'Then you'll have to start right away. Diet and exercise. If that doesn't help we'll have to go a step further. With this blood-sugar level you're wearing down your whole system.'

I'm diabetic, Wallander thought. At that moment it struck him as something shameful.

Goransson seemed to sense his dismay. 'This is something we can control,' he said. 'You won't die from it. At least not yet.'

They took more blood tests, and Wallander was given dietary guidelines, and was told to come back on Monday morning.

He left the surgery at 11.30 a.m. He walked over to the cemetery and sat down on a bench. He still couldn't grasp what the doctor had told him. He found his glasses and started reading the meal plans.

Вы читаете One Step Behind (1997)
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