'How big is the apartment?"
'No, no kitchen. Only one room."
'How many windows?"
'Facing the yard?"
'No, sea view!"
Gunvald Larsson bit his lip in annoyance. The veins in his forehead swelled once more.
'Well now," Melander said. "He has a one-room apartment on the second floor with two windows facing the yard. Do you know for sure that he's there now?"
'Yes," she said. "I do."
'Have you a key?" Melander asked kindly.
'No, there is only one."
'And he's locked the door after him?" Martin Beck.
'Bet your sweet life he has."
'Does the door open inwards or outwards?" Gunvald Larsson asked.
She thought hard.
'How many stories in the house facing the yard?" Martin Beck asked.
'Oh, four or so."
'And what's on the main floor?"
'Can you see the entrance from the windows?" Larsson asked.
'No, the Baltic," the girl retorted. "A bit of the city hall too. And the royal palace."
'That'll do," Larsson snapped. "Take her away."
The girl made a violent gesture.
'One moment," Melander said.
There was silence in the room. Gunvald Larsson looked expectantly at Melander.
'Can't I go?" the girl asked. "You did promise."
'Yes," Melander answered. "Of course you can go. We just have to check up first that you're right. For your own sake. Oh, one thing more."
'He's not alone in the room, eh?"
'No," the girl said very quietly.
'What's your name, by the way?" Gunvald Larsson asked.
'None of your damn business."
'Take her away," Gunvald Larsson said.
Melander got up, opened the door to the next room and said:
'Rönn, we have a lady here, do you mind if she sits with you for a while?"
Rönn appeared in the doorway. His eyes and nose were red. He took in the scene.
'Not at all."
'Blow your nose," Larsson said.
'Shall I give her some coffee?"
'Good idea," Melander said.
He held the door for her and said politely:
'This way, please."
The girl got up and went out. In the doorway she stopped and gave Gunvald Larsson and Martin Beck a cold, hard stare. Evidently they had not succeeded in making her like them. Something wrong with our basic psychological training, Martin Beck thought.
Then she looked at Melander and said slowly:
'Who's going to get him?"
'We are," Melander said kindly. "That's what the police are for."
She didn't move, but went on looking at Melander. At last she said:
'Very dangerous. He shoots. He'll probably shoot me too."
'Not for a long time," Gunvald Larsson said.
She ignored him.
'He has two submachine guns in the room. Loaded. And an ordinary pistol. He has said…"
Martin Beck said nothing, but waited for Melander's reply, hoping that Gunvald Larsson would keep quiet.
'What has he said?" Melander asked.
'That he'll never let himself be taken alive. I know he means it."
She still went on standing there.
'That's all," she said.
'Thank you," Melander said, closing the door after her.
'Huh," Gunvald Larsson said.
'Fix the warrant," Martin Beck said as soon as the door was shut. "And out with the town plan."
The blueprint of the town plan was on the desk before Me lander had finished making the short phone call that gave them the legal right to do what they were about to do.
'It might be pretty tough," Martin Beck said.
'Yes," Gunvald Larsson agreed.
He opened a drawer, took out his service pistol and weighed it for a moment in his hand. Martin Beck, like most Swedish plainclothes policemen, carried a pistol in a shoulder holster in case he had to use it when on duty. Gunvald Larsson, on the other hand, had got himself a special clip with which he could fasten the holster to the waistband of his trousers. Slinging the pistol so that it hung by his right hip he said:
'Okay, I'll grab him myself. Coming?"
Martin Beck looked thoughtfully at Gunvald Larsson, who was a good half head taller than himself and looked gigantic now that