Five First Dates: Wallander

Wallander, encouraged by his daughter Linda, looks in the Personals column of the local newspaper to try and cure his loneliness. Consequently five less than wonderful dates follow…

Disclaimer: I do not own the wonderful Kurt Wallander (unfortunately I'm not Henning Mankell), I'm just having some fun with him. Well, quite a lot of fun, actually.


One

In which Wallander has a lucky escape.

Wallander arrived somewhat nervously at the restaurant. They'd arranged to meet for 7:30 and he was a few minutes early. He hoped they would be able to recognise each other. If she was as attractive as her voice on the phone had suggested he would have no trouble picking her out, but he hoped she didn't take one look at him and change her mind.

"Who wants an aging policeman anyway?" he thought. It had mainly been his daughter Linda's idea to answer the advert in the Personals section of the paper. Given his own previous experience with such things he could be forgiven for feeling sceptical.

On the dot of 7:30 a car pulled into the car park and a tall slim blonde got out. She noticed him straight away and made straight for him.

"Well hello!" she purred.

For a moment Wallander was struck dumb, then he remembered his manners and introduced himself.

"Kurt Wallander. You must be Karin."

She gave him a wide, seductive smile that made him feel a little self-conscious.

"You didn't tell me you were so handsome!" she charmed. Now he felt very self-conscious.

They sat at a table and consulted the menu, making small talk. Looking at her over the top of his menu, Wallander began to feel that he knew Karin's face from somewhere, but he couldn't for the life of him remember where. He asked whereabouts she lived. It turned out she had a flat not far from where he lived on Mariagatan.

"What a coincidence. I don't think I've seen you around though?"

"You wouldn't have. I've been… away for a while."

"Ah. Anywhere nice?"

"No, not really." She seemed reluctant to continue on the subject, so he didn't press her on it.

The food arrived and as usual for this restaurant it was excellent. While they made more small talk Wallander puzzled over where he might have seen her before. Something niggled at the back of his mind; her name reminded him of something too, but what?

Over dessert they discussed their jobs. Karin seemed slightly startled when Wallander told her he was a detective. He was used to women being less than impressed by his job, but such a strong reaction was unusual. He could tell it made her nervous, even though she was trying hard to hide it.

"So what do you do?" he asked her, a slight realisation beginning to dawn on him.

"I work in finance," she said fairly non-committally.

"Oh? That sounds interesting."

"Yes, it's alright. I've worked for a few different banks. My favourite job was at Danske Bank. I was a manager there for four years."

Suddenly a very bright light came on in Wallander's head. Yes, why hadn't he realised before?

"Being a bank manager is certainly an interesting job. Lots of… responsibility," he said, looking her straight in the eye. "Lots of… opportunities. Not all of them legal opportunities though, hmm?"

Karin scowled back at him, furious that he'd had the audacity to actually recognise her and even more furious that he'd had the gall to bring it into the conversation.

"Why did you have to bring that up?" she hissed.

"Because I'm not sure it would be a good idea for someone in my profession to carry on a relationship with someone of your – er – background. Although I must applaud your ingenuity. Most people don't even get away with it once, let alone five or six times, hmm?"

Karin stared at him open-mouthed. He had the distinct impression that she was more angry about being recognised than anything else. It was quite amusing really. She picked up her drink and threw it in his face in a rage.

"You swine!" she seethed, grabbing her handbag and storming out.

Well, that was the end of that. Once Wallander had mopped himself dry with the towel handed to him by waiter, and paid the bill, there was nothing left to do but go home. He knew that if he ever saw Karin again it would certainly be in an interview room at the police station. He shook his head and chuckled softly as he drove, resolving to ask his colleagues in Malmö exactly how they ever managed to trace all those frauds to Karin Berg.

All in all though, thank goodness his memory for faces was so good. It had been a lucky get-out. Him date a serial fraudster? No no, that would never do.