Authors: Jo Nesbo
ALSO BY JO NESBØ
DOCTOR PROCTOR’S FART POWDER
DOCTOR PROCTOR’S FART POWDER: TIME-TRAVEL BATH BOMB
DOCTOR PROCTOR’S FART POWDER: THE END OF THE WORLD. MAYBE
First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Simon and Schuster UK Ltd
A CBS COMPANY
First published in the USA in 2013 by Aladdin,
an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: The Magical Fruit
Originally published in Norway in 2012 as
Doktor Proktor og det store gullrøveriet
by H. Aschehoug & Co.
Text copyright © H. Aschehoug & Co. 2012. Published by arrangement with the Salomonsson Agency
English translation copyright © 2013 Tara Chace
Interior illustrations copyright © 2013 Mike Lowery
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
All rights reserved.
The right of Jo Nesbø to be identified as the author and Mike Lowery as the interior illustrator of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with sections 77
and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor, 222 Gray’s Inn Road
Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney
Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
PB ISBN: 978-147111-738-1
eBook ISBN: 978-147111-739-8
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
The Not-Quite-So-Great Gold Robbery
IT IS NIGHTTIME in Oslo, and it’s raining on the quiet, sleeping city. Or
it sleeping? One of the raindrops hits the enormous clock on the side of the Oslo
City Hall tower and clings to the tip of the minute hand before letting go and falling twenty stories, striking the asphalt with a soft splat, and starting to join the other raindrops running down
the streetcar tracks. Now, if we were to follow this raindrop as it made its way to a manhole cover during this Oslo night, we would hear a faint sound through the silence. The faint sound would
get a little louder when the drop of water fell through the hole in the manhole cover, plunging down into the Oslo sewer system, where the darkness is even thicker. And along with the raindrop we
would start sailing in the filthy, reeking sewage water, through the pipes— some small and narrow, some so big you can stand up—that run this way and that, way below ground level in
this rather insignificant, big, little city, which is the capital of Norway. And as this intestinal system of pipes carries us deeper into Oslo’s innards, the sound gets louder.
It is not a pleasant sound. Actually, it sounds like a dentist’s office.
Like the sound of a drill crushing its way through tooth enamel, gums, and sensitive nerve endings. Sometimes the rumbling is low and sometimes screeching high, depending on what the
drill’s diamond-hard, whirling bit is digging into.
But, whatever! At least it’s not the sound of an anaconda’s hissing, yard-long tongue, the creaking of half a ton of constrictor muscles tightening, or the deafening bang of
jaws—the size of an inflatable swimming ring—slamming shut on their victim. I only mention that because of the rumor that a snake like that lives down here. And because a pair of
yellow, glowing reptilian eyes are just visible in the sewer there in the darkness to the left. So if you are regretting having come already, now’s your chance to vamoose. Just quietly close
the book and tiptoe out of the room or crawl under the covers. Forget that you ever heard of the Oslo sewer system, that dentist’s drill sound, or snakes that eat enormous water voles,
average-sized kids, and occasionally small adult humans—if they’re not too hairy and don’t have beards.
SO, GOOD-BYE AND have a good life. And close the door behind you.
THERE. NOW IT’S just us.
WE WILL CONTINUE down this filthy river toward the dark heart of the city. By now the noise has grown to a roar and we see a light, but we realize that this is neither paradise
nor the dentist from hell, but something totally different.
There is a loud machine in front of us with a wheel on it. A steel arm juts up from the machine and disappears into a large hole that has been drilled in the top of the sewer pipe.
“We’re almost there, boys!” says the biggest of the three men standing around the machine, shining flashlights up into the hole. They’re all dressed the same in black
leather boots, rolled-up jeans with suspenders, and white T-shirts. The biggest one also had a bowler hat on his head. But he’s taken it off right now to wipe the sweat away, allowing us to
see that all three of their heads are shaved, and each one has a letter tattooed on his forehead, above his thick unibrow.
A small cracking sound is heard, and suddenly the drill starts squealing like a spoiled brat.
“We’re in,” the man with a
tattooed on his forehead snarls, flipping a switch. The drilling noise slowly fades away. The drill bit comes into view, and it’s
quite a sight: It glitters in the light from the flashlights like the biggest diamond in the world. And, well, that’s probably because it
the biggest diamond in the world, newly
stolen from a diamond mine in South Africa.
The guy with a
tattooed on his forehead angles a ladder up into the hole above them and scampers up its rungs.
The other two guys watch him anxiously.
For five seconds absolutely nothing happens.
“Charlie?” the guy with the bowler hat calls.
Nothing happens for three more seconds.
Then Charlie comes back into view. He is struggling to carry something that looks like a brick, except that it’s golden and obviously much heavier. The side is engraved with some words:
BANK OF NORWAY
And below that, in slightly smaller letters:
GOLD BAR NUMBER 101
“Help me, Betty,” Charlie says, and the man with the
tattoo hurries over and takes the gold bar.
“What about the rest of them?” the guy with the bowler hat asks, blowing dust off it. He has an
tattooed on his forehead, but it’s a little hard to read right now
since a massive wrinkle is curling the whole letter.
“This is all there is, Alfie.”
Now, I’m sure at this point the most geographically astute of you are wondering why these three are speaking English. After all, we are in the sewers beneath Oslo, which is the capital of
Norway, and don’t people speak Norwegian there? Sadly for those of us who don’t understand Norwegian, most of the characters in this book will actually be speaking Norwegian. Happily,
we will simply pretend we took one of Doctor Proctor’s multilingual pills. But in this specific case that wasn’t even necessary. For some reason these three are already speaking
“This was the only bar in there, Alfie. The rest of the bank vault is completely empty,” Charlie says.
“You mean this is it? The entire gold reserve of the whole darned central bank of Norway?” sputters Betty, the medium-sized one, and then drops the gold bar with a thump into the
machine’s baggage compartment.