Death in Oslo

Lire ebook Death in Oslo
Auteur: Anne Holt

Death in Oslo
I
    I
got away with it
. The thought made her pause a moment. The old man in front of her lowered his eyes. His ravaged face was turning blue in the January cold. Helen Lardahl Bentley took a deep breath and finally echoed the words the man had asked her to repeat:
    ‘I do solemnly swear . . .’
    Three generations of deeply religious Lardahls had worn illegible the print in the century-old leather-bound Bible. Well hidden behind the Lutheran façade of success, Helen Lardahl Bentley was in fact a sceptic, and therefore preferred to take the oath with her right hand resting on something she at least could wholeheartedly believe in: her own family history.
    ‘. . . that I will faithfully execute . . .’
    She tried to hold his eye. She wanted to stare at the Chief Justice, just as everyone else was staring at her – the enormous crowd that stood shivering in the winter sun. The demonstrators were too far from the podium to be heard, but she knew they were chanting, ‘Traitor! Traitor!’ over and over, until the words were drowned out by the steel doors of the special armoured vehicles that the police had rolled into position early that morning.
    ‘. . . the office of the President of the United States . . .’
    The whole world was watching Helen Lardahl Bentley. They watched her with hate or admiration, with curiosity or suspicion, and perhaps, in the quieter corners of the world, with indifference. For those few seemingly never-endingminutes, she was at the centre of the universe, caught in the crossfire of hundreds of TV cameras, and she must not,
would not
think about it.
    Not now, not ever.
    She pressed her hand even harder on the Bible and lifted her chin a touch.
    ‘. . . and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’
    The crowd cheered. The demonstrators were removed. The guests on the podium gave her congratulatory smiles, some heartfelt, some reserved. Friends and critics, colleagues, family, and the odd enemy who had never wished her well all mouthed the same word, silently or with loud joy: ‘Congratulations!’
    Again she felt a flicker of the fear she had repressed for over twenty years. And then, only seconds into her office as the forty-fourth president of the United States of America, Helen Lardahl Bentley straightened her back, ran a determined hand through her hair, and looking out over the crowd, decided once and for all:
    I got away with it and it’s time I finally forgot
.

II
    T he paintings were certainly not beautiful. He did not care for one in particular. It made him feel seasick. When he leant in close to the canvas, he saw that the wavy yellow and orange strokes had cracked into an infinite web of tiny fine lines, like camel dung in the baking sun. He was tempted to stroke his fingers over the grotesque, screaming mouth, but he didn’t. The painting had already been damaged in transport. The railings to the right of the agonised figure now had a sad

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