The Stranger 5 (Pages 137 – 222)


The dead girl found in the rubbish bin is Barbie, and Patrik learns that the night of the party Martin and Hanna had to intervene twice as Barbie was the aim of some physical attack. First, it was Uffe, the boy who is the most irreverent contestant, who had grasped Barbie by the shoulders and was shaking her. Then Martin and Hanna saw several contestants attacking Barbie because she was saying things about them.

Patrik questions the participants in the reality show, but he thinks that none of them are involved in the murder. What he finds unacceptable is that the television producer doesn’t stop the show, and use Barbie’s murder to improve the ratings. When the autopsy comes through, it shows that Barbie was strangled, and there are some cuts found in her body. So Martin and Hanna return to talk to Jonna, and she admits to having cut Barbie when she and the others attacked her. Yet, she claims that Barbie just ran away when the police intervened, and that was the last time she saw her.

Now Tina, another participant in the reality show, who plans to become a pop star, has found Barbie’s journal, and he has talked to a tabloid or magazine to sell the diary to them. The only thing that she has torn into pieces is an entry about her in which Barbie said that she felt pity for Tina because she thought she had a great voice when in reality she sang terribly. Tina is full of fury and doesn’t regret her decision to sell the diary to the press. Yet, there is something she reads in Barbie’s journal, which awakens her curiosity. In the entry Barbie mentions a ‘he’ that seems familiar to her, and Tina wonders who Barbie meant. I wonder if the reason why Barbie was killed is because the person who she recognised has something to hide.

Apart from this, Patrik keeps investigating Marit’s murder. We know that Marit’s hands were tied and an object forced into her mouth. Patrik goes to see a police officer, who he heard in the conference he attended. The policeman explained an unsolved case which reminded Patrik of Marit’s death. The police officer explains that in his case a man had allegedly committed suicide and great amounts of alcohol were found in his system even though everybody claimed that he was a teetotaller. Patrik summons his team, and they come up with profiles for both Marit and the other man, but the only thing that is common to the two victims is that they were both teetotal. Then Patrik and Martin go to talk to the man’s mother, and the only thing they learn is that he had a car accident, which left him disabled.

I wonder if there are two murderers, or whether the same person killed both Marit and Barbie. So far I have no theories; the only clue we have is that Barbie saw something that looked familiar to her. I don’t know if that is the reason of her murder, or there is some other reason.

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