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