U IS FOR UPPSALA, SWEDEN

U

A STORY OF UNDERUTILISATION IN UPPSALA, SWEDEN

Sand could have taken a flight to Uppsala from Oslo and been there in under an hour, but these days he was in no rush. It had been a year since he had been put into semi-retirement.

After the serial killer Dag Moen had disappeared into the Norwegian Sea off the coast of Bergen, Detective Anders Sand had received the highest commendation available to a Norwegian officer, and then quietly been saddled with desk duty and minor cases. The shift to the next, younger generation of detectives in the Oslo Police Department had already claimed his boss and friend Daniel Pedersen, given early retirement and a handy payout. His partner, Gabi Henriksen, twenty years his junior had been promoted above him to lead the department. Sand could do many things, but he could not hold back the tide of time and the political desire for equality in the police force.

When the call came in from Uppsala, 450 kilometres to the east in neighbouring Sweden, Sand was only too happy to take the job. The Uppsala police had arrested a vagrant on suspicion of petty shop theft. Only when processing her did they realise they had inadvertently caught Astrid Ulberg, a Norwegian national wanted on murder charges in Oslo for the death of her lover five years previously. Thanks to the Nordic Arrest Warrant, an extradition agreement which allowed for smooth cooperation between the various agencies in the Nordic countries, it had not taken long for Ulberg to be claimed by Norway. The Swedes were only too happy to oblige. Sand was aware of the case, although he hadn’t worked it, but it was the chance to get out of the office for a couple of days that tempted him more than anything else.

He pulled up outside the non-descript building that housed the Uppsala Police Department at around three in the afternoon, having left Oslo during rush hour that morning. As he had come alone – he had worked without a partner since Gabi’s promotion and the department was too busy for anyone else to accompany him – a Swedish officer was to accompany him back to Oslo with Ulberg. He would meet Elias Eriksson today, and had been promised a dinner at the finest Swedish restaurant in Uppsala, before they made the return journey to Oslo tomorrow, with Astrid Ulberg in tow.

Having parked the car where directed by the security guard, he got out and stretched his legs and back, rubbing his temples and pinching his nose. He was no longer a young man and the seven hour journey had taken its toll. As he opened his eyes again the sun glinted off a window, dazzling him. In the flash that followed he thought he saw a familiar face, sneering at him. The face of Dag Moen. When he blinked and looked again he saw a smiling young man striding towards him, hand extended in greeting. Sand wished they had found a body washed up on the shore a year ago.

‘The famous Detective Anders Sand,’ the man said, taking his hand and shaking it enthusiastically. ‘Elias Eriksson, we spoke on the ‘phone.’

‘Pleasure,’ Sand replied.

‘We’re honoured that you chose to come all this way. Aren’t you a bit over-qualified to be an errand boy?’

Sand shrugged politely. ‘These days I’m content to take things a little slower,’ he lied.

‘Well, she’s a rough one this Ulberg. Refuses a lawyer. Ever since we informed her that she was being extradited she’s been screaming her innocence. She managed to injure herself battering her head against the cell door. We’ve had to move her to the local hospital under restraint and guard.’

‘I’d like to visit her tonight if that’s okay,’ Sand inquired.

Eriksson was only too pleased to help out, ‘Certainly. You must be tired, I’ll drive.’

They drove through the centre of Uppsala. In all his travels around the various countries of Scandinavia, Sand had never visited the city. Eriksson provided a running commentary of the sights: the university; Uppsala Castle; Uppsala Cathedral, the largest in Scandinavia. Smaller than Oslo, or Stockholm and Gothenburg, it struck Sand as a charming city. He made a note to visit for a longer stay in the future. He was sure he would soon have plenty of available time. If only Camilla was still around to share the comfortable, quiet years ahead.

Eriksson parked in the hospital visitor car park. They walked across a concourse to reach the hospital building. As they entered the main doors, Eriksson’s smartphone rang. As he answered it two uniformed officers rushed out the door, colliding with the detectives. Behind them a police car siren began wailing. At the same time an alarm began to ring round the hospital.

‘What’s going on?’ Eriksson called into the ‘phone, raising his voice above the din.

Recognising their superior, it was  one of the officers who had rushed out the building that answered. ‘Ulberg’s escaped. She set fire to the oxygen supply in her room, the explosion caused damage.’

Eriksson turned to Sand. ‘I’m sorry. Wait here and I’ll be in touch when I know more.’

‘If you don’t mind, I’ll tag along.’ Sand felt that familiar feeling in his old bones. He had one more manhunt left in him. Retirement could wait.


Written as part of The A to Z Challenge 2018. Click HERE for more details of the challenge.

Each day in April we will visit a different town or city in the European Union, whose name will begin with the letter of the day – today it’s catching up with Detective Anders Sand in Uppsala, Sweden – for a story based on a theme also corresponding to the same letter.

Detective Sand was the subject of my story for the 2017 A to Z Challenge. You can read that story here, as well as a few other short stories featuring the same characters: THE A TO Z CHALLENGE 2017.

Over the course of the month and 26 stories, we will visit all 28 member countries to complete a farewell tour before Britain leaves the political union next year, touching on the history, politics, culture and people at the heart of Europe.

For a full list of stories and places visited, visit here: THE A TO Z CHALLENGE 2018.

83 responses to “U IS FOR UPPSALA, SWEDEN”

  1. Oh! I wanted to know more, whether he was finally able to catch her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Could be the start of the next case, if I decide to carry on with it!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You should definitely carry on with it!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for the encouragement.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Very neat! I sense the jumping off point of a new case for the good Inspector. ..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What do you think? Next year’s A to Z perhaps…?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Could be – or is it time to up the ante and start talking to agents?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well, wouldn’t it be nice if I could get an agent to talk to me! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. If I change career, you will be one of the first people I call 😀

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Looks like a good kickoff point for a new case for Agent Sand. Are you planning to continue this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Possibly Varad, we’ll see if time allows. Perhaps Sand could return for another A – Z like he did last year.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I Am sure he is as excited as the first day in office. It’s sad to see the plight of these string officers

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I meant ageing officers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It must be strange when they one day stop having to worry about crime, or no longer have the authority to do anything about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story. Left me hanging though! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One day I will write the next chapter!

      Like

  7. Sounds Wallender-ish! I want to know what happens!! Cheers, Denise

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is my Scandi-Noir detective that pops up every know and then on the case! I’ll see if I can write the rest of this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I would like to read more.. is the next post in continuation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not the next post, but perhaps in the future, you will have to keep an eye on my blog! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will definitely do that. I like what you did there. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Looks like another best selling Scandi noir coming up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If only it was a best seller! Thanks Linda

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great enthusiasm on his part! Perfectly written as usual Iain! Gripping till the last word!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s good to see Sand in action again, and I can’t help but think that somehow, Dag Moen is behind the current mischief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a suspicious mind James, perhaps psychologically more than in actuality.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. How tantalising – to leave us there. I really would like to know more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will see what I can do!

      Like

  13. Good story. I love passion in detectives. Yes, retirement can wait!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes to the A to Z except that means we’d have to wait a year for more. You know how to fish us in!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I have you hooked already Janet!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This has the makings of a great ongoing serial! More…!

    A-Z of My Friend Rosey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Keith

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Shame that you’re not continuing this tomorrow. She sounds like a handful for your detective.

    Stu
    Tale Spinning
    https://stuartnager.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One day I will, perhaps when the reat of my A – Z is out the way 🙂 Thanks Stu.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I have so much catching up to do! Scandinavia is also hugely on my travel list.

    This story feels more like the beginning of something to me. Especially with that ghostly moment and a fresh manhunt!

    Womanhunt.

    Whichever!

    @IsaLeeWolf
    A Bit to Read

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be the beginning of a new story for this character, although he has been around my blog for a couple of years now!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am SO BAD WITH THAT! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed something is a serial.

        There’s this cheap little magazine I like that always has a mini-mystery, and I’d been reading it FOR YEARS when I thought, wait a second, these character names look familiar.

        When it’s intermittent I’m the worst.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. You can’t stop there! I have to know what happened! Great cliffhanger 🙂

    https://katseaholm.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/u-is-for-unexpected/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kat, we’ll see if I can come up with the rest of the story in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Glad for Detective Sand that he will be able to use his skills again. That transition towards retirement is a challenging space especially with a job like his. How can you ever really leave it behind? Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, and what do you do with yourself if you have dedicated your whole life to that job and then it suddenly stops?

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Don’t leave us hanging! I want to know what happens next. Great story as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – stay tuned at some point in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Great story! My husband worked the fugitive unit for years and he would absolutely have done the same thing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a great / dangerous job. Thanks Laura.

      Like

  22. Intrigue on a lower key. Loved it. I wondered if Ericsson may have been the killer’s relative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, a twist already! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Det. Anders Sand returns…Yay!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s always there at the back of my mind, one day he will peek out for a full blown story!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ll all be looking out for that!

        Liked by 1 person

  24. And what happened? I am curious…is she caught?

    Tongue Twister for V

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I shall have to decide when I write the rest of the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Get him to solve one case at least Iain. The serial killer disappeared, and you left us just at the beginning of the chase in this one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He did solve the serial killer case to be fair, just without a body in the end! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Ah! Good ending. Nothing like it for a detective to get back on the scent of blood again. Sand must indeed be feeling thrilled to be back in the chase after shining his back on an arm chair for sometime. You could develop this theme into a full blown book you know. I see some very exciting possibilities for a racy thriller here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jay, glad you liked it. All I can say is I’m sure Sand will return in the future! 🙂

      Like

  27. Oh and how good it is to see Anders Sand once more. I’ll add mine to the many voices saying: more please!

    A-Zing this year at:
    FictionCanBeFun
    Normally found at:
    DebsDespatches

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s gratifying to know he is still remembered and popular, thanks Debs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Great build up of suspense. Do police officers ever really retire? Besides who could resist a manhunt especially with these interesting circumstances?

    https://writingiscommunication.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/unusual-the-space-between-bookstore-presented-by-a-to-z-100-word-stories/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, I bet they always have that desire to do something when they see a crime being committed.

      Like

      1. I can assure you that it is a very hard role to separate one’s self from even for a few days off let-alone retirement.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. This could be a novel or series. Sand and his adventures while retiring but never able to quite do so. Nice, Iain!

    Emily In Ecuador

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Emily, I can always go back and write all the prequels too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  30. You had me! I want to know more!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, perhaps one day! 🙂

      Like

  31. Woooah Iain, your blog is flourishing and is buzzing with activity. So many visitors and comments. More power to your incredible work. Another tantalising tale this.

    https://natashamusing.com/2018/04/w-is-for-we-are-the-world-atozchallenge/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Natasha – always good to have people reading and appreciating the blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. I can see Sand being at this last case for rather a long time as Ulberg is certainly a wily, canny one. Would love to read more… perhaps Sand and Ulberg could be a new series?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thinking so, but you might have to wait until next year’s A to Z challenge until I have time to write it! 🙂

      Like

      1. That’s okay, as long as appear throughout next years challenge 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Yay!! Det. Sand on the trail again! This makes me happy. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m finally at the stage where I have the idea and the time for the next long story featuring Sand. I’ll see if I can sort something out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have complete confidence in you. You are a very skilled writer. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Damn! This was a great start but I want more than this teaser.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will get round to it at some point…

      Like

  35. I like this, you should continue the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jazmin, I hope too 🙂

      Like

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