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The child was at most three. Thick overalls and a sleet-

drenched fur cap concealed the gender. The kid wanted a

pellet gun because Julius at day care had one. The mother

standing beside her shot me looks indicating that was not a

present she favored. I told the kid we’d see what Santa

could do. By the time the child was gone, Merja was busy

showing face packs to a customer. Had she realized I’d seen

everything? I couldn’t be sure.

During my break I glanced at the employee directory. I was

not even surprised when I saw Merja’s last name. It was



Sunday night I tossed and turned in bed wondering

whether to mention my suspicions to Henrik Bruun. I did

not have any concrete proof against Merja and Petri. Giving

him the package of tissue had taken place carefully outside

the range of the security camera. On the face of it there was

nothing peculiar in the occurrence other than that Petri

was not wearing an overcoat. Usually the store detectives

dressed like the customers for the season at hand.

But were there more involved than Merja, Petri, and Veli-

Pekka? Someone in the watch or electronics department?

The regular salespeople knew that Petri was a store

detective, but wouldn’t they become suspicious if items