Retired policemen Grijpstra and de Gier are being blackmailed. The threat is a serious one: to set the income tax authority on them. The blackmailers, a wealthy yacht owner and his son, want them to investigate the mysterious hijacking of a supertanker’s entire cargo in the Caribbean. The Amsterdam cops reluctantly agree to take the case. Their rendezvous is in Key West, where they are confronted with a murder.
The commissaris is about to retire from the Amsterdam police force when volunteer officer Johan Termeer approaches him for help. Johan fears his elderly uncle has been murdered in faraway New York, the corpse found decimated by animals in Central Park. The commissaris agrees to look into the matter since he’s already heading to New York for a law enforcement convention, and brings Sergeant de Gier along with him.
In the twelfth book in an acclaimed series, retired Amsterdam policeman Henk Grijpstra gets a frantic telephone call from his old partner, Rinus de Gier, who thinks he may have killed his girlfriend.
He is being blackmailed and can’t remember if he did it; he was just too drunk. But if he did, where is the corpse? Would his old partner please fly over to the US at once? Urged on by their former superior officer, the commissaris, Grijpstra grudgingly travels to Maine to rescue his partner and to confront his own demons as well as de Gier’s.
During a random break-in, three heroin addicts discover the corpse of banker Martin Ijsbreker. They arrange his death to look like a suicide and flee with his valuables, but are found dead of an overdose the next day. The investigating officer dismissed their deaths as an accident, but the commissaris suspects that his cousin and childhood nemesis, Willem Fernandus, murdered Ijsbreker to protect his own shares in the dead man’s bank. When the two finally confront each other as adversaries, someone will die.
Douwe Scherjoen was a well-to-do livestock dealer from the remote Dutch province of Friesland. Then his corpse was found, half-charred by flames, floating in a dory in Amsterdam’s harbor. No one knows why he was in the nation’s capital, far from the bucolic pleasures of his native village of Dingjum. But since Grijpstra is Friesian by birth and can understand the dialect, he and his partner de Gier are dispatched to find the killer—or at least the motive for the crime. And they discover that while no one, not even his wife, liked the victim, the culprit is the unlikeliest suspect of all.
Sergeant de Gier spots a vulture at the scene of a murder in Amsterdam’s red light district. The victim, a despicable and widely hated pimp, is now only a police matter to be disposed of with typical Dutch tidiness. However, once Grijpstra, de Gier and the canny commissaris get involved, their search leads to a denouement infinitely more shocking than the crime itself.
Mr. Fortune is suspected of murdering his wife. Grijpstra and de Gier begin a search that leads to the unidentified corpse of a man stuffed into the trunk of a stolen Mercedes. But where is the body of Mrs. Fortune? Tracking a killer without a corpse and a corpse without a killer, the Amsterdam cops finally arrive at the bonechilling truth.
The accidental death of his brother-in-law sends the commissaris to the secluded town of Jameson, Maine. De Gier goes along to see the United States. But there has been a sinister pattern of deaths in the area, and the two find themselves neck-deep in a murder investigation involving shady real estate deals, with a townful of suspects and the icy breath of a cold-blooded killer stalking their every move.
While in the neighborhood investigating a pet poisoner, Grijpstra and de Gier of the Amsterdam police are called to the home of a wealthy, middle-aged woman, the former lover of a man known only as “The Baboon,” when her body turns up in her garden.
A beautiful waitress at Amsterdam’s most elegant Japanese restaurant reports that her boyfriend, a Japanese art dealer, is missing. The police search throughout the Netherlands and finally locate a corpse. But to find the killer, the commissaris and de Gier must travel to Japan and match wits with a yakuza chieftain in his lair.
A riot has erupted in New Market Square, transforming the normally sedate streets of Amsterdam into a mass of angry protesters. So when the body of the “King” of the local street market is found in his house with his head bashed in, the police are puzzled. The adjoining street has been closed off all day, and the constables stationed outside the scene of the crime didn’t detect any unusual activity. There are only two people who could have reasonably committed the violent act: the victim’s roommate upstairs and his beautiful sister downstairs. Both claim to have seen or heard nothing suspicious when the crime took place. But something isn’t adding up. Is one of them the killer?
A recluse has been shot right between the eyes while standing at his bedroom window. His neighbor, a schoolteacher and pistol shot champion, admits she discovered the body and failed to report it. Is she guilty of murder? Grijpstra and de Gier will travel to whorehouses, through a shady electronics market and into the house of a very flashy potential suspect to find out.
Maria van Buren, a beautiful, high-class prostitute, is found dead with a knife in her back in her houseboat on an Amsterdam canal. Grijpstra and de Gier must solve the murder. Her tony clients all have sound alibis. Before the murderer is caught, the detectives and their commissaris will investigate allegations of black magic, travel to Curaçao, and pursue the clues to a chilly island off the coast of Holland.
“[Van de Wetering] is doing what Simenon might have done if Albert Camus had sublet his skull.” —John Leonard
On a quiet street in downtown Amsterdam, a man is found hanging from the ceiling beam of his bedroom, upstairs from the new religious society he founded: a group that calls itself “Hindist” and supposedly mixes elements of various Eastern traditions. Detective-Adjutant Gripstra and Sergeant de Gier of the Amsterdam police are sent to investigate what looks like a simple suicide, but they are immediately suspicious of the circumstances.
This now-classic novel, first published in 1975, introduces Janwillem van de Wetering’s lovable Amsterdam cop duo of portly, wise Gripstra and handsome, contemplative de Gier. With its unvarnished depiction of the legacy of Dutch colonialism and the darker facets of Amsterdam’s free drug culture, this excellent procedural asks the question of whether a murder may ever be justly committed.