The Dogs of Riga
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Second in the Kurt Wallander series.
On the Swedish coastline, two bodies, victims of grisly torture and cold execution, are discovered in a life raft. With no witnesses, no motives, and no crime scene, Detective Kurt Wallander is frustrated and uncertain he has the ability to solve a case as mysterious as it is heinous. But after the victims are traced to the Baltic state of Latvia, a country gripped by the upheaval of Soviet disintegration, Major Liepa of the Riga police takes over the investigation. Thinking his work done, Wallander slips into routine once more, until suddenly, he is called to Riga and plunged into an alien world where shadows are everywhere, everything is watched, and old regimes will do anything to stay alive.
said. “The police should set up a department on a national basis whose only job is to work with people who have unusual expertise.” Wallander nodded. He’d often thought the same thing himself. There were people with comprehensive expertise in many esoteric fields dotted around the country. Everybody knew about the old lumberjack in Härjedalen who had identified the top to a bottle of Asian beer that had defeated not only the police, but also the experts at the Wine & Spirits monopoly. The
sentenced.” Major Liepa’s face broke into a broad smile, and he seemed keen to respond. That was a question he was hoping for, Wallander thought. It was worth more than all the polite exchanges he could have mustered. “I have to explain the situation in my country,” Major Liepa said, lighting another cigarette. “No more than 15 per cent of the population of Latvia are Russians, but even so, Russians have controlled our country in every way since the end of the war. The sending in of Russian
was inserting his key into the lock, he heard the telephone ring. Cursing aloud, he flung open the door and grabbed the receiver. Can I speak to Mr Eckers? It was a man speaking, and his English was very poor. Wallander responded as he was supposed to do, saying there was no Mr Eckers here. Oh, I must have made a mistake. The man apologised, and hung up. Use the back door. Please, please. He put on his overcoat, and his knitted cap – then changed his mind and put it in his pocket. When he
reached the foyer he made sure he couldn’t be seen from reception. The party of Germans was just leaving the dining room as he approached the revolving doors. He hastened down the stairs to the hotel sauna and a corridor leading to the restaurant goods entrance. The grey, steel door was exactly as Baiba Liepa had described it. He opened it carefully, feeling the wind in his face, then made his way down the loading ramp and soon found himself at the rear of the hotel. The street was lit by only a
in secret. He would be a non-police officer in a country with which he was completely unfamiliar, and this non-police officer would be trying to establish the truth about a crime that many people already regarded as solved, finished and done with. He knew the whole venture was mad, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Baiba Liepa’s face, and her voice had been so full of conviction he had been unable to withstand it. It was nearly 2 a.m. when Inese announced they would have to call a halt. She left