Текст книги

Камилла Лэкберг
The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories

The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories
Camilla Lackberg

THE SCENT OF ALMONDS AND OTHER STORIES is a collection of short stories from the No.1 international bestseller Camilla Lackberg. Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo.Four unmissable stories set in the Swedish fishing village of Fjallbacka and told in Camilla Lackberg's distinctive voice.THE SCENT OF ALMONDSA snowstorm traps a family in a hotel on a tiny island off Fjallbacka – and then a body is discovered in the library.AN ELEGANT DEATHTwo sisters witness a murder in a fashion boutique.DREAMING OF ELISABETHMalin is trapped on a boat with a man she is beginning to fear…THE WIDOWS' CAFEMarianne is serving up a dangerous concoction at the Widows' Cafe.Showcasing Camilla's acclaimed talent for combining heart-stopping plots with heart-warming characters, this collection of tales will thrill and delight in equal measure.

Copyright (#uf6502a7f-0b31-5bc7-a633-6fb3974b1bb6)

Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published by HarperCollinsPublishers 2015

Copyright © Camilla Lackberg 2007

Published by agreement with Nordin Agency, Sweden

Translation copyright © Tiina Nunnally 2015

Camilla Lackberg asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

Cover layout design © HarperCollinsPublishers 2015

Cover photographs © Shutterstock.com

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

This is entirely a work of fiction. Any references to real people, living or dead, real events, businesses, organizations and localities are intended only to give the fiction a sense of reality and authenticity. All names, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and their resemblance, if any, to real-life counterparts is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books

Ebook Edition © FEBRUARY 2015 ISBN: 9780008102081

Version: 2017-08-31

Table of Contents

Cover (#u4fd52bd9-84b9-56e5-8431-b41358ee4ab4)

Title Page (#ud48b8423-8668-5b26-ab06-25886127bbd6)

Copyright (#ub908bede-1598-5ba7-94dc-a144db6ca423)

The Scent of Almonds (#u7bd906bc-6ccf-5b25-be3b-599f959be6b0)

An Elegant Death (#litres_trial_promo)

Dreaming of Elisabeth (#litres_trial_promo)

The Widows’ Café (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Also by Camilla Lackberg (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

THE SCENT OF ALMONDS (#uf6502a7f-0b31-5bc7-a633-6fb3974b1bb6)

Snow drifted through the air. Christmas was only a week away, and December had already racked up a record amount of snow and freezing cold temperatures. The ice had set in several weeks ago, but over the past few days a thaw had turned it brittle and unreliable.

Martin Molin was standing in the bow of the boat as it ploughed its way forward, following in the path forged by the coastguard cutter out to Valö. He wondered what he was doing here, and whether he’d made the right decision. But Lisette had been so insistent. To be honest, she had begged him to come. Family gatherings were not her strong suit, she’d said, and it would be much easier to bear if he were there to keep her company. The problem was that meeting her relatives implied a certain seriousness about their relationship that he, at least, didn’t feel.

But what was done was done. And what was said was said. Now here he was, on his way out to the old summer camp on Valö to spend two days with her family.

He looked back over his shoulder. Fjällbacka was undeniably beautiful, especially in the winter with the small wooden buildings nestled amid all that whiteness. And the way in which the little community was embraced by the grey mountain gave it a unique and aesthetically appealing air of drama. Maybe I should move here from Tanumshede, Martin thought briefly, but then laughed at himself. That would only happen if he won the lottery.

‘Toss me the painter, would you?’ shouted the man on the dock, startling Martin out of his reveries. He leaned down to pick up the line lying at his feet. When the boat got close enough, he threw it over the rail. The man easily caught the line and tied it to the bollard.

‘You’re the last one to arrive. The other guests are already here.’

Martin cautiously stepped down onto the slippery dock to shake hands with the man.

‘There were a few things I had to finish at the station before I could leave.’

‘Right. I heard that we were going to have a police presence out here this weekend. Makes me feel very safe.’

The man laughed and then introduced himself as Börje, the owner of the hotel.

‘My wife and I run the place. So I’m the carpenter, cook, butler and general handyman. All in one.’ Another loud, resounding laugh.

Martin picked up his bag and followed Börje towards the lights that could be glimpsed through the trees. ‘From what I’ve heard, you’ve done wonders with the old camp,’ he said.

‘We’ve put in a lot of work,’ said Börje proudly. ‘And money – I have to admit that. But now it’s doing well. The wife and I have been very pleased. We were actually fully booked all summer and well into the autumn. And we’ve been surprised to see that the Christmas special we’re offering has proved to be so popular.’

‘People like to get away from all the Christmas hubbub,’ said Martin, trying not to pant too much as they trudged up the hill towards the hotel. It was embarrassing; he ought to be in better shape, considering his age and his profession.

He took his eyes off the path and looked up, momentarily stunned. They really had done wonders with the old building. Like most people who had grown up in the area, Martin had come out to Valö on school field trips or to attend summer camp. He remembered a beautiful but somewhat run-down green building situated in the middle of an expansive lawn. Now the green paint had been replaced with white, and the structure gleamed like a jewel. From the windows streamed a warm light that made the white facade glow. Torches burned in front of the entrance, and through the windows on the ground floor he could see a huge Christmas tree. The whole place was incredibly beautiful, and he paused for a moment to take it all in.

‘Quite spectacular, don’t you think?’ Börje had also stopped.

‘Incredible,’ said Martin, and he meant it.

They went in through the main entrance and stomped their feet to shake off the snow.

‘The last guest has arrived!’ called Börje, his voice echoing down the hall. Martin heard quick footsteps as someone approached.