The Trace of the Mole
The Trace of the Mole
Tuesday, October 16th
Thormann felt very relaxed, when he went to empty his post office box at the BÃ¤renplatz. With Franca de Coulon, he had spent some very restful days at Locarno. Autumn there still is warm. They had made hikes through the chestnut woods in the narrow valleys and the mountains behind the town. They had sat in the sun at the promenade close to the lake, had gone by ship to the botanical gardens at the Islands of Brissago and had tasted the red wine in the 'grotti' 47 above the town. In the night, they had made love as they hadn't done long time ago. After five warm days in the sun of Locarno, neither the mist in Bern nor the crabby faces of the passersby nor the omnipresent boring election posters didn't trench upon Thormann's good mood. At his office at the KÃ¤figgÃ¤sschen, he began to sort the letters, the periodicals and the publicity. There were some accounts, a banking statement and an invitation to a conference of experts. One letter caught his attention. On the envelope, there was no sender. The envelope enclosed a simple sheet. The letterhead was printed in small cursive characters: Kryptonion SA - The Chairman of the Board. The rest of the letter was handwritten. 'Dear Mr. Thormann, thank you for your report in the case of Erwin Keller. On occasion of the last meeting of our board, we discussed it. Perturbed by the fact, that one of our longstanding collaborators has been assassinated under rather mysterious circumstances, the board would like to ask you, whether you could go on with your investigation. I would like to explain to you our reasons orally. Could you come to see me Wednesday 17th, eight p.m., at my home, Brunnenweg 10 in Muri? In the case you are inhibited, please give me an SMS to the number below. Sincerely, Max Grossen.'
Thormann opened the window. The cool, wet air came in. It was very quiet. The piano player obviously didn't practice. Thormann went to prepare an espresso. Slowly he drank it and read the letter once more. After a moment, he shut the window. Then he scanned the letter, put it in his pocket and turned to the other papers of his mail.
In the afternoon Thormann sat at home. He read all the records about the Kryptonion SA, which he and Helen Bauer had collected. The chairman of the board, Max Grossen, was fifty-one. He had a master of the University of St. Gallen in economic science and he was a member of the board with three other enterprises. One of those enterprises was a management consulting firm of medium scale in Zurich, the second was a PR firm in Bern and the third was a manufacturing company for electronic components near Bern. He lived in Muri near Bern. About his private and eventual political activities, Helen hadn't made out something concrete.
Wednesday, October 17th
Wednesday evening was gloomy and rainy. Thormann had prepared some documents about an eventual mandate. He looked at the city map. The Brunnenweg in Muri was situated only some hundred yards from a streetcar station of the line number six. Therefore, he decided to go by streetcar. He put on a trench coat, took his umbrella and went up to the streetcar station in front of the main-station. When he arrived at the Brunnenweg number ten, the rain had grown heavy and he was glad to step under the shelter, which protected the entrance of the well-groomed villa. Max Grossen opened the door himself. Thormann recognized him due to a picture, which Helen had found by Google. He was a tall man with dark curly hair and alert brown eyes. He wore dark cord slacks and simple black pullover. His shirt collar was open. "Mr. Thormann? Come in please and thank you for your coming. May I take your coat?" He put the coat and the umbrella to a c