The Marco Effect: A Department Q Novel

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Book: The Marco Effect: A Department Q Novel Read Online Free PDF
Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen
days René E. Eriksen had been through sheer hell at the thought of having sent a man to his death, and as things now stood was more than willing to go along with anything that might stop this juggernaut nightmare from developing any further.
    To René’s mind there was no doubt at all as to what should happen now. Not only must Mbomo Ziem be removed from the Baka project, he had to be removed permanently. No one who was involved in the project had anything to gain from having a man like him charging around and messing things up. A man who knew as much as he did and at the same time was so fucking inefficient and heavy-handed.
    “I’ll get back to you, Mbomo. In the meantime I want you to just takethings easy. Go home, and stay there. Later today we’ll send someone over who can brief you on what’s going to happen next.”
    And then René hung up the phone.
    Mbomo would be briefed all right. More than he could ever imagine.
    —
    The boardroom of Karrebæk Bank wasn’t humble by any stretch of the imagination. Both the furnishings and the location suggested the headquarters of one of the country’s leading financial institutions, and nothing in the countenance of its managing director, Teis Snap, seemed to suggest otherwise. All that met the eye was extravagant: furniture, fittings, the works. Within these walls overspending had long been par for the course.
    “Our chairman, Jens Brage-Schmidt, is listening in on this, René. As you know, he’s in the same boat as us.”
    Snap turned toward a walnut speaker cabinet on the imposing desk.
    “Can you hear us all right, Jens?” he said.
    The answer was affirmative, the voice rather squeaky but still replete with authority.
    “Then we’ll begin the meeting.” He faced René. “I’m sorry to have to be so frank, René,” Snap said, “but following your conversation with Mbomo earlier today, Jens and I have come to the conclusion that the only solution to our problem is to do everything in our power to stop William Stark, and that in the future you personally are to make sure that no one with Stark’s zeal ever comes anywhere near the Baka project.”
    “Stop William Stark?” René repeated the words softly. “And this is to happen in Denmark, is that what you mean?” he added after a pause. It was mostly here his reservations lay.
    “In Denmark, yes. It has to be,” Teis Snap went on. “We’re disarming time bombs here, stopping Louis Fon, and soon Mbomo Ziem and William Stark, too. Once they’re out of the way we’ll be back on track. Officials at the ministry in Yaoundé will stay tight-lipped, of course, since they’re in on this themselves. And if you continue to receive regular reports from some public servant in situ who is willing to call himself Louis Fon for a while and spread the word to your ministry about howmagnificently the project is running, then we shall have little to worry about. It’s the way of
all
African projects. A bit of encouraging news once in a while, that’s all anyone expects, dammit.”
    René heard Brage-Schmidt grunt over the speaker, and though he had never met the man there seemed to be an underlying tone to his voice that made René envisage a man who for all too many years had been used to bossing people around in places far beyond the borders of his home country. There was a harshness about the way he began a sentence, as if everything he said was an order not to be disobeyed. The image of a British imperialist or shipping magnate with unfettered powers was easy to conjure up. René had heard that every butler Brage-Schmidt had employed through the years he had addressed as “boy,” and that if anyone knew Africa, it was him: consul for a handful of southern African states for as long as anyone cared to remember and successful businessman in Central Africa even longer, though not always accompanied by the best of reputations.
    No, as far as René could make out there seemed little doubt that Brage-Schmidt was
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