Satellite People

Satellite People by Hans Olav Lahlum Read Free Book Online

Book: Satellite People by Hans Olav Lahlum Read Free Book Online
Authors: Hans Olav Lahlum
how Magdalon Schelderup was as a boss. She replied earnestly and responsibly that he could at times be very demanding, but that he was also
inspiring and nice as long as one did what was required. She had seen the job as a great opportunity and had thrown herself into it. After waiting a while to see how things went, he had declared
himself satisfied with her work, and given her a pay rise as well as presents on her birthday and festive holidays. His death was completely unexpected and she had no idea who might have killed
him. The idea had never entered her head and his death was a great personal loss to her. She did not want to say anything negative about either his family or the other employees on the day that he
died.
    Synnøve Jensen told me that she herself had grown up on a smallholding in Sørum and that she still lived in the small house that her parents had left to her. She had neither a
driving licence nor a car, and took the bus to and from work every day. It was Magdalon Schelderup who had suggested that, during a very busy period at work, she should have her own bedroom here.
She had accepted this, but always stayed at home at weekends and generally also during the week. Synnøve Jensen was single, had no brothers or sisters, and in fact had no close relatives at
all following the death of her parents some years ago. After completing school and a secretarial course, she had for several years had various short-term office jobs. It was a great relief to her
to have found a position that offered not only a regular and secure income, but also an employer and work that she liked.
    She had thus far kept up her appearance as a conscientious secretary impressively well. But this crumbled rapidly as soon as I commented that her relationship to the deceased was perhaps
somewhat closer than she intimated. She sat with her face in her hands for a short while. Then suddenly everything came out in a torrent.
    ‘I didn’t plan it! No matter what they say, it is not something I had planned when I started to work for him. I desperately needed a job and was shocked and overjoyed when he
employed me. The idea that anyone in this house might have an interest in me other than as a secretary was ridiculous. I am not clever and I am not beautiful. And I never tried to seduce him in any
way.’
    I attempted a nod that was at once pacifying and encouraging. It all sounded plausible enough, given what I knew of Magdalon Schelderup so far.
    ‘But he was tempted all the same – and you did not deny him?’
    She gave her head the tiniest shake and sighed deeply.
    ‘No, I admit it. It would not be easy for anyone to deny Magdalon Schelderup what he wanted – especially one of his employees who was dependent on the income. But to be honest, I am
not sure that I would have stopped him otherwise. Magdalon could be harsh, but he was a fascinating and very charming man for all that. He was the first man who had ever really cared about how I
was and thought that I deserved better.’
    ‘And he had the money to give you a better life.’
    She nodded.
    ‘Absolutely, and that may have played a role. I have never had much. My father drank and my mother took out all her frustration on me. I was not going to bite the hand that fed me. So I
put up no resistance when one day it slid round my waist.’
    It was easy to feel sympathy for the plain Synnøve Jensen and her story, in the midst of all the rich people around the table. My feelings remained mixed, however. She clearly was not
innocence itself, and she also had potential motives for murder. Maria Irene’s words were still ringing in my ears. Synnøve Jensen was apparently surprisingly vocal in bed considering
how meek she was otherwise – even when her lover’s wife and daughter were there in the same house.
    ‘Now that he’s dead, your job is presumably in danger? Certainly if his wife knows about this?’
    She nodded again.
    ‘Which I am sure she does. She is not

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