It’s after dinner and Stella is sitting in the easy chair watching tv shows on her iPad. She’s watched the news, and a cheffie thing where she learnt how to do grilled sardines with chilli and a salad with pomegranate dressing and now she’s watching some Scandi noir show, all bleak and cold and windswept. The detective is walking through the forest looking for what we expect to be the grim discovery of the body. It will be a grandmother, a woman who made maps of walking trails, who witnessed a terrible sight, swans that have been doused in petrol and deliberately lit. She sees this and then she is killed. Is she killed because she witnesses this act of brutality or is the act a trap, designed to lure her to where the killer can strike? We don’t know. Stella doesn’t know either. She’s ticked off though, because she realises this is ruining her chances of ever enjoying a walk in a forest in Sweden. Now these places are gothic and dark, and full of menace. She imagines the crackle of the leaves beneath her footsteps and the chill air sneaking down the back of her shirt collar. It’s eerie and no amount of IKEA will ever make up for how spooked she is.


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