Paperback | June 14, 2011

byLiza MarklundTranslated byNeil Smith

not yet rated|write a review
Scandinavia's undisputed queen of crime fiction, Liza Marklund is the #1 international bestselling author of the Annika Bengtzon series, now available for the first time in Canada from Vintage Canada.

Rookie reporter Annika Bengtzon has a coveted, yet temporary, position at a major Stockholm tabloid. Before she has had the slightest chance to adapt to the bullish and fast-paced world of news journalism, a dead body is found at a city cemetery. The victim is an exotic dancer who has been raped and strangled, and the prime suspect is a government minister. Annika realizes that this could become her breakthrough story. But as she exposes the dark underworld of sex clubs, chauvinism and corruption, she is drawn deep into a dangerous world of sex and violence.

Pricing and Purchase Info


In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

From the Publisher

Scandinavia's undisputed queen of crime fiction, Liza Marklund is the #1 international bestselling author of the Annika Bengtzon series, now available for the first time in Canada from Vintage Canada.Rookie reporter Annika Bengtzon has a coveted, yet temporary, position at a major Stockholm tabloid. Before she has had the slightest cha...

LIZA MARKLUND is an author, publisher, journalist, columnist and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. She has written ten novels and one non-fiction book. Her crime novels featuring the gutsy reporter Annika Bengtzon instantly became an international hit, and Marklund's books have sold nineteen million copies in thirty languages to date. Li...

other books by Liza Marklund

The Postcard Killers
The Postcard Killers

Paperback|Jul 12 2011

$14.96 online$19.49list price(save 23%)

Paperback|Jan 1 2035

$19.84 online$19.95list price
Red Wolf
Red Wolf

Paperback|Oct 19 2010

$19.93 online$19.95list price
see all books by Liza Marklund
Format:PaperbackDimensions:560 pages, 8 × 5.15 × 1.2 inPublished:June 14, 2011Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:030735847X

ISBN - 13:9780307358479

Look for similar items by category:


Extra Content

Read from the Book

"There's a dead girl in Kronoberg Park."The voice was breathless, the words slurred, suggesting drug use. Annika Bengtzon looked away from her screen and fumbled for a pen amongst the mess on her desk."How do you know?" she asked, sounding more sceptical than was strictly called for."Because I'm standing right next to it, for fuck's sake!"The voice rose to a falsetto and Annika had to hold the phone away from her ear."Okay, how dead?" she said, aware that the question sounded ridiculous."Bloody hell, completely dead! How dead can you be?"Annika looked around the newsroom uneasily. Spike, the head of news, was sitting over at the newsdesk, talking on the phone. Anne Snapphane was fanning herself with a pad of paper behind the desk opposite, and Picture-Pelle had just switched on his Mac over at the picture desk."I see," she said, as she found a Biro in an empty coffee cup and an old printout of a news agency telegram, which she started making notes on the back of."In Kronoberg Park, you said. Whereabouts?""Behind a headstone.""Headstone?"The man on the other end started to cry. Annika waited in silence for a few seconds. She didn't know what to do next. The tip-off line - officially known as the Hotline but only ever referred to in the office as Cold Calls - was almost only ever used by pranksters and nutters. This one was a strong candidate for the latter."Hello . . . ?" Annika said cautiously.The man blew his nose. He took several deep breaths and started talking. Anne Snapphane was watching Annika from the other side of the desk."I don't know how you keep answering those calls," she said when Annika had hung up.Annika didn't respond, and just carried on making notes on the back of the telegram."I have to have another ice-cream or I'll die. Do you want anything from the canteen?" Anne Snapphane asked, standing up."I just need to check something first," Annika said, picking up the phone and dialling the police emergency desk. It was true. Four minutes ago they had received a report of a dead body in the section of the park facing Kronobergsgatan.Annika got up and went over to the newsdesk, holding the telegram in her hand. Spike was still talking on the phone, his feet up on the desk. Annika stood right in front of him, demanding his attention. The head of news looked up, annoyed."Suspected murder, a young girl," Annika said, waving the printout.Spike ended his call abruptly by simply putting the phone down, and dropped his feet to the floor."Is it from one of the agencies?" he wondered, turning towards his screen."No, Cold Calls.""Confirmed?""The emergency desk have got it, at any rate."Spike looked out over the newsroom."Okay," he said. "Who have we got here?"Annika made her move. "It's my tip-off.""Berit!" Spike yelled, getting up. "This year's summer killing!"Berit Hamrin, one of the paper's older reporters, picked up her handbag and came over to the newsdesk. "Where's Carl Wennergren? Is he working today?""No, he's on holiday, sailing round Gotland," Annika said. "This is my tip-off; I took the call.""Pelle, pictures!" Spike yelled towards the picture desk.The picture editor gave him a thumbs-up. "Bertil Strand," he shouted."Okay," the head of news said, turning to Annika. "So what have we got?"Annika looked down at her scribbled notes, suddenly aware of how nervous she was."A dead girl, found behind a headstone in the Jewish Cemetery in Kronoberg Park on Kungsholmen.""So it isn't necessarily a murder, is it?""she's naked and was strangled."Spike looked at Annika intently. "And you want to do this one yourself?"Annika swallowed and nodded, and the head of news sat down again and pulled out a pad of paper. "Okay," he said. "You can go with Berit and Bertil. Make sure we get good pictures. We can sort the rest out later, but we have to get good pictures."The photographer was pulling on the rucksack containing his equipment as he walked past the newsdesk."Where is it, again?" he said, aiming his question at Spike."Kronoberg Prison," Spike said, picking up the phone."Park," Annika said, looking to see where her bag was."Kronoberg Park. The Jewish Cemetery.""Just make sure it isn't a domestic row," Spike said, before dialling a London number.Berit and Bertil Strand were already on their way to the lift down to the garage, but Annika paused."What do you mean by that?" she said."Exactly what I said. We aren't interested in domestics."The head of news turned his back on her demonstratively. Annika felt her anger rise through her body and hit her brain like a shot."That wouldn't make the girl any less dead, would it?" she said.Spike's call was picked up at the other end and she realized the discussion was over. She looked up and saw that Berit and Bertil had already disappeared. She hurried to her desk, pulled out her bag from beneath the desk drawers and ran after her colleagues. The lift had gone, so she took the stairs. Fuck, fuck, why did she always have to argue? She was about to miss her first big story just because she wanted to put the head of news in his place."Idiot!" she said out loud to herself.She caught up with the reporter and photographer at the entrance to the garage."Okay, we stick together until there's a good reason to split up," Berit said, making notes in her pad as she walked. "I'm Berit Hamrin, by the way. I don't think we've been introduced."The older woman smiled at Annika, and they shook hands as they got into Bertil Strand's Saab, Annika in the back and Berit in the front."There's no need to slam the door so hard," Bertil Strand said, looking at Annika reproachfully over his shoulder. "You'll damage the paintwork."Good God, Annika thought."Oh, sorry," she said.The photographers treated the newspaper's vehicles as their personal company cars. Almost all of them took their responsibilities extremely seriously. Maybe that was because the photographers, without exception, were all men, Annika thought. Even though she'd only been at the Evening Post for seven weeks, she was already well aware of the sanctity of the photographers' cars.She'd had to postpone several interviews because various photographers had been busy putting their cars through the carwash. And that also gave her an indication of just how important people thought her articles were."It's probably best to avoid Fridhemsplan and approach the park by the side streets," Berit said as the car approached Rålambsvägen. Bertil Strand put his foot down and just made the lights, heading off down Gjörwellsgatan towards Norr Mälarstrand."Can you run through what the bloke on the phone told you?" Berit said, swivelling in her chair so she could look back at Annika.Annika pulled out the crumpled telegram."Well, there's a young girl lying dead behind a headstone in Kronoberg Park. Naked, probably strangled.""Who was the caller?""Some junkie, from the sound of it. His mate was taking a piss against the railings and caught sight of her through the bushes.""Why did they think she'd been strangled?"Annika turned the paper to read something she'd written along the edge of the sheet."There was no blood, her eyes were wide open and there were marks on her neck.""That doesn't necessarily mean she was strangled, or even murdered," Berit said, turning to look ahead again.Annika didn't answer. She looked out through the Saab's tinted windows at the people sunbathing in Rålambshov Park. The glittering waters of Riddarfjärden spread out ahead of them. She had to squint, in spite of the tinted glass. There were two windsurfers heading towards the island of Långholmen, but they weren't doing terribly well. There was scarcely any breeze to lift the heat today."What a great summer we're having," Bertil Strand said, turning left into Polhemsgatan. "Pretty unexpected, after all the rain we had in the spring.""Yes, I was lucky," Berit said. "I've just had my four weeks off. Sun every single day. We can leave the car just behind the fire station."The Saab cruised the last few blocks of Bergsgatan. Berit had undone her seatbelt before Bertil Strand even hit the brakes, and was out of the car before it stopped. Annika hurried after her, momentarily taken aback as the heat outside hit her.Bertil Strand parked in a turning circle as Berit and Annika headed off along the side of a red-brick building from the fifties. The tarmac path was narrow, with a stone kerb along the edge of the park."There's a flight of steps up here," Berit said, already out of breath.Six steps later and they were up in the park itself. They jogged along a tarmac path that led to an elaborate playground. To their right were several sheds; Annika read the words "Park Games" as she ran past. There was a sandpit, benches, picnic tables, climbing frames, slides, swings and other things for kids to climb and play on. A few mothers and their children were in the playground, but it looked like they were packing up. At the far end two uniformed policemen were talking to another mother."I think the cemetery's a bit further down, towards Sankt Göransgatan," Berit said."You certainly know your way around," Annika said."Do you live near here?""No," Berit said. "This isn't the first murder in this park."Annika saw that the police were busy unrolling their blue and white tape to cordon off the area. So they were emptying the playground and closing it off to the public."It's a good job we got here quickly," she muttered to herself.They turned off to the right, following a path that led to the top of the hill."Down to the left," Berit said.Annika ran on ahead, crossing two more paths, and suddenly there it was. She saw a row of black Stars of David standing out against the greenery. "I can see it," she shouted behind her, and from the corner of her eye saw that Bertil Strand had almost caught up with Berit.The railings were black, and attractively ornate. The iron uprights were linked by metal circles and bows. Each railing was crowned by a stylized Star of David. She was running into her own shadow and realized that she was approaching the cemetery from the south. She stopped on the little hill overlooking the graves, where she could get a good view. The police hadn't cordoned off this section of the park yet, but she could see that the northern and western approaches had already been blocked."Hurry up!" she called to Berit and Bertil Strand. The railings enclosed the little Jewish cemetery and its worn granite headstones. Annika quickly counted thirty or so of them. The vegetation had almost taken over and the whole area looked overgrown and neglected. The cemetery covered an area of some thirty metres by forty. On the far side, the railings were little more than a metre and a half high. The entrance was on the western side, towards Kronobergsgatan and Fridhemsplan. She saw the team from the other evening paper stop at the cordon. A group of men, all of them in plain clothes, were inside the railings, at the east side of the cemetery. She realized why they were there: that was where the woman's body was.Annika shivered. She mustn't mess this up, her first decent tip-off of the summer.Berit and Bertil Strand came up behind her, and at that moment she saw a man open the gate in the railings down by Kronobergsgatan. He was carrying some grey material. Annika gasped. They hadn't covered her up yet!"Come on, quick!" she called over her shoulder. "We might be able to get a picture from up here."A policeman appeared on the crown of the hill in front of them. He was rolling out blue and white tape. Annika rushed down towards the railings, and could hear Bertil Strand behind her. Over those last metres before the railings he shrugged off his rucksack and pulled out a Canon with a telephoto lens. The grey sheet was just three metres away as Bertil Strand clicked off a whole series of shots in amongst the bushes. He moved half a metre to his left and took another sequence. The policeman holding the roll of tape shouted something, and the men inside the railings caught sight of them."Got it!" Bertil Strand said. "We've got enough pictures to cover the story now.""Hey, what do you think you're doing?" the policeman with the tape shouted. "We're cordoning off this area."A man in a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts was walking towards them inside the cemetery."Okay, it's time for you to leave," he said.Annika looked round, unsure of what to do. Bertil Strand was already heading towards the path that led to Sankt Göransgatan. The policemen in front of her and behind her both looked extremely annoyed. She realized she would have to move, otherwise the police would move her themselves. Instinctively, she shifted sideways to where Bertil Strand had taken his first pictures.She peered through the black railings, and there was the young woman. Her eyes were staring right into Annika's from a distance of just two metres away. They were clouded and grey. Her head was tilted back, her upper arms were pointing away from her body, and her lower arms sticking up above her head. One hand seemed to have been injured. Her mouth was open in a soundless scream, the lips black-brown. Her hair was moving slightly in the imperceptible breeze. She had a large bruise on her left breast, and the lower portion of her stomach looked eerily green.Annika absorbed the whole image, crystal clear, just for a moment. The harsh greyness of the stone in the background, the subtle green of the plants, the shadows of the leaves, the dampness and heat, the repulsive smell.Then the sheet appeared, turning the whole scene grey. They were covering up the railings, not the body."Time to go," the policeman with the tape said, putting a hand on her shoulder.Such a bloody stereotype, Annika found herself thinking as she turned round.Her mouth was completely dry, and she noticed that everything she heard seemed to come from a long way away. She moved, slightly unsteadily, towards where Berit and Bertil Strand were standing waiting behind the cordon. The photographer looked bored and unhappy, but Berit was almost smiling.The policeman followed her, with his shoulder rubbing against her back. It had to be very hot having to wear a uniform like that on a day like this, Annika thought."Did you see anything?" Berit asked.Annika nodded, and Berit jotted something down. "Did you manage to ask the detective in the Hawaiian shirt anything?"Annika shook her head and crept under the length of tape with the obliging help of the policeman."That"s a shame. Did he say anything that you happened to overhear?""Okay, it's time for you to leave," Annika quoted, and Berit smiled."How about you, are you okay?" she asked, and Annika nodded."Oh, I'm fine. She might well have been strangled, her eyes were popping out. She must have been trying to scream when she died, her mouth was wide open.""Maybe someone heard her. We'll talk to the neighbours later. Was she Swedish?"Annika suddenly felt that she had to sit down."I forgot to ask . . ."Berit smiled again."Blonde, dark, young, old?""Twenty, tops. Long fair hair. Big breasts. Silicone, probably, or saline implants."Berit looked at her quizzically. She sank down into the grass with her legs crossed."Her tits were standing straight up, even though she was on her back. And she had a scar in her armpit."Annika could feel her blood pressure plummeting.She lowered her head to her knees, taking several deep breaths."Not a pretty sight, then?" Berit said."I'm okay," Annika said.After a minute or so she felt better. The noises around her were overwhelming: the traffic thundering along the Drottningholm road, two sirens wailing out of sync, voices shouting, the clatter of cameras, a child crying.Bertil Strand had joined the group of reporters gathering at the entrance to the cemetery, and was chatting to the photographer from the other evening paper."Who's doing what?" Annika said.Berit sat down next to Annika, looked down at her notes and started doodling."We can probably assume this is a murder, can't we? So to start with, we need an article about the event itself. This has happened, a young woman has been found murdered. When, where, how? We'll have to get hold of the man who found her and talk to him. You got his name, didn't you?""He's an addict. His friend gave a care-of address for the tip-off money.""Try to get hold of him. The police emergency room will have the details of the call they received," Berit said, ticking off one of the things on her list."Already done.""Good. Then we need to get hold of a policeman who's prepared to talk. Their press spokesman never says anything off the record. Did that Hawaiian detective give his name?""Nope.""That's a shame. Try to find out. I've never seen him before; he might well be new in violent crime. Then we need to find out when she died, and why. And if they have any suspects, what's next for the investigation, the whole police angle.""Okay," Annika said, making notes in her own pad."God, it's hot. Has it ever been this hot in Stockholm before?" Berit said, wiping the sweat from her brow."No idea," Annika said. "I only moved here seven weeks ago."Berit took a tissue from her bag and dabbed at her forehead."Right, then we've got the victim," she said. "Who was she? Who identified her? Presumably there's a devastated family somewhere in Sweden - we need to think about whether or not to contact them. We need pictures of the girl when she was alive. Do you think she was over eighteen?"Annika thought for a moment, remembering the breast enlargements."Yes, probably.""So there should be pictures of her from her school graduation. All kids stay on through high school these days. And there are always pictures of them wearing their graduation caps. What do her friends have to say? Did she have a boyfriend?"Annika made some more notes."Then there's the neighbours' reactions," Berit went on. "We're right in the middle of Stockholm - there are more than three hundred thousand women living in the vicinity. A crime like this has implications for everyone's security. What impact will it have on nightlife, on the image of the city? Well, that's probably two articles. If you take the neighbours, I'll take the rest."Annika nodded without looking up."And then there's one last aspect," Berit said, dropping her pad to her lap. "There was an almost identical case to this one just a hundred metres or so away, twelve or thirteen years ago."Annika looked up in surprise."If I remember rightly, a young woman was raped and murdered on some steps on the north side of the park," Berit said thoughtfully. "The killer was never caught.""Bloody hell," Annika said. "So it could be the same bloke?"Berit shrugged. "Probably not. But we'll have to mention the other murder. A lot of people are bound to remember it. The woman was raped, then strangled." Annika gulped. "God, this is a terrible job really, isn't it?" she said."Yes, it really is," Berit said. "But it'll be a lot easier if you manage to get hold of our Hawaiian detective before he leaves the park."She pointed towards Sankt Göransgatan, where the man in the Hawaiian shirt had just left the cemetery. He was walking towards a car parked on the corner of Kronobergsgatan. Annika flew up, grabbed her bag and rushed down towards the road. She could see the reporter from the other paper trying to talk to the detective, but he simply brushed him aside.Just then Annika stumbled on the kerb of a path and almost fell. Unable to slow down, she careered down the steep slope towards the street. There was nothing she could do to stop herself crashing into the back of the Hawaiian detective, who was thrown onto the bonnet of his car."What the hell!" he yelled, grabbing Annika's arms in a vicelike grip."Sorry," she squeaked. "I couldn't help it. I lost my balance.""What the hell are you playing at? Are you mad?" The man was shaken, and not a little alarmed."Sorry," Annika said, feeling that she was on the verge of bursting into tears. Besides, her left wrist was aching badly.The man pulled himself together and let go of her. He stared at her for a few seconds."You need to calm down. Seriously," he said as he got into his burgundy Volvo estate and drove off with a squeal of tyres."Fuck," Annika said to herself. She blinked to get rid of the tears and squinted into the sunlight to make a note of the car's police call number. She thought it said "1813" on the side. Just to be sure, she memorized the number plate as well.Then she turned round, and saw that the whole group of reporters at the entrance was staring at her. She blushed bright red and bent over to gather together everything that had fallen out of her bag when she hit the detective: her A5 pad, a packet of chewing-gum, an almost empty bottle of Pepsi Max, and three sanitary pads in green plastic wrappers. Her pen was still in the bag. She pulled it out and quickly jotted down the car's call number and registration in her pad.The journalists and photographers looked away and went back to chatting among themselves. Annika noted that Bertil Strand seemed to be organizing a trip to buy ice-creams.