Only One Life: A Novel
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Jealousy, obsession, and family honor have fatal consequences for an immigrant community on the fringes of seemingly idyllic Copenhagen society
It was clearly no ordinary drowning. Inspector Louise Rick is immediately called out to Holbaek Fjord when a young immigrant girl is found in the watery depths, a piece of concrete tied around her waist and two mysterious circular patches on the back of her neck.Her name was Samra, and Louise soon learns that her short life was a sad story. Her father had already been charged once with assaulting her and her mother, Sada, who makes it clear that her husband would indeed be capable of killing Samra if she brought dishonor to the family. But she maintains that Samra hadn’t done anything dishonorable. Then why was she supposed to be sent back to Jordan? Samra’s best friend Dicta thinks it was an honor killing. A few days later Dicta is discovered, bludgeoned to death, and Samra’s younger sister has gone missing.Navigating the complex web of family and community ties in Copenhagen’s tightly knit ethnic communities, Louise must find this remorseless predator, or predators, before it is too late.
asked before they left. “Four. Two older ones, and two little ones,” the woman said, explaining that the children were Aida, a girl who was four, and Jamal, a boy of about two. Louise and Mik said thank you and apologized for disturbing her. The neighbor stayed in the doorway watching them until they got back to their car. Right as they were about to exit the lot, Louise yelled, “Stop!” There was a red car parked there matching the description. She jumped out and went over to an older-model red
some teenagers were grieving the loss of a good classmate. Repercussions, Camilla thought, afraid it was a word that was going to follow her for the entire case. “I’d really like to write about what you told me today. It might help your case.” “No, no.” Sada vigorously shook her little head. “You mustn’t.” “I don’t need to say the two of us talked. I can write something about honor and shame, about the loneliness and fear of becoming an outcast, and why it might be necessary to act as you
Flemming, mostly directing his comments at Mik and his notes. Flemming announced that her last meal had been rice and beans. He worked a little more in silence until he continued: “There is no water in the lungs or sphenoidal sinus, so there is no indication that she drowned, but she was underwater for a few hours. She has acute hyperinflation, the lungs are large and pale, which may be because she had difficulty breathing, but I can’t give you a cause of death,” he said, completing the autopsy.
watching him. He nodded. “Did she also make up your eating sushi together?” He said that Dicta had been hungry before she went home. “She had the money to pay you three thousand crowns, but not to buy herself a hot dog at Nørreport Station?” Louise let the question hang in the air, and then continued: “How many times did you see her that day?” She could see that he was going to deny that he had seen her at all since then, so she reformulated the question. “How many times did you have contact
anything, she started reading another account from fifty years ago: “‘If I have to bear this child, I would rather end it all.’ “That was written by a very young woman who came from a fishing family in Western Jutland, where she grew up in an evangelical family. She got pregnant at a very young age by one of the local farmers and turned to Mødrehjælpen, the National Council for Unmarried Mothers, in the hope of getting permission for an abortion. She was denied. That same day, she took her own