Harry.Hole.01.The.Bat.1997 by Nesbo Jo

Harry.Hole.01.The.Bat.1997 by Nesbo Jo

Author:Nesbo, Jo [Nesbo, Jo]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Random House Canada
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


28

The Hunter

IN THE INTERVAL Watkins permitted himself a beer. ‘That number almost did for me,’ he said. ‘I’m still bloody trembling. Perhaps we should get the bastard now. This waiting is making me nervous.’

Harry shrugged. ‘Why? He’s not going anywhere, and he doesn’t suspect anything. Let’s stick to the plan.’

Watkins discreetly pressed the walkie-talkie to check he was in contact with Lebie, who, to be on the safe side, had stayed seated in the auditorium. The police car was already in position at the back door.

Harry had to concede that the finessing of the guillotine number was effective, but he was still pondering why Otto had exchanged Louis XVI for the blonde woman no one would have identified. Perhaps he had counted on Harry using the free tickets and being present. Was this his way of playing with the police? Harry knew that it was not unusual for serial killers to feel more and more confident as time passed without an arrest. Or was he begging for someone to stop him? And of course there was a third possibility – they had quite simply modified the trick.

A bell rang.

‘Here we go again,’ Watkins said. ‘I hope no one else will be killed this evening.’

Some way into the second act Otto appeared dressed as a hunter and crept across the stage with a pistol in his hand while peering up into trees that had been rolled in on wheels. From the foliage came some birdsong which Otto tried to imitate as he took aim at the branches. The crack of a gun was heard, a small puff of smoke rose and something black fell and hit the stage with a thump. The hunter ran over and to his surprise lifted up a black cat! Otto took a deep bow and left the stage to scattered applause.

‘Didn’t understand that one,’ Watkins whispered.

Harry might have appreciated the performance if he hadn’t been tense. However, as it was, he sat following his watch more than the events on the stage. Besides, several of the numbers contained political satire of a more local flavour and went over his head, but the audience greatly appreciated them. At the end, the music piped up, the lights came on and all the performers appeared onstage.

Harry and Watkins apologised to the row of people who had to stand to let them out, and hurried to the door at the side of the stage. As agreed, it was open and they went into a corridor that ran in a semicircle behind. At the furthest end they found the door with Otto Rechtnagel, Clown on it and waited. The music and the stamping from the auditorium were making the walls shake. Then came a brief crackle from Watkins’s walkie-talkie. He picked it up.

‘Already?’ he said. ‘The music’s still playing. Over.’ His eyes widened. ‘What?! Repeat! Over.’

Harry knew something had gone wrong.

‘Stay where you are and keep an eye on the stage door. Over and out!’ Watkins slipped the walkie-talkie back into his inside pocket and took the gun from his shoulder holster.



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