Wednesday, December 19, 2007

DeKok and Murder on Blood Mountain-A.C. Baantjer

DeKok and Murder on Blood Mountain
A.C. Baantjer
Speck, Nov 2007, $14.00
ISBN: 9781933108131

The corpse of Hendrick-Jan Assumber was fished out of the Scheldt River harbor in Antwerp, Belgium. The victim actually died from poisoning not drowning; since Hendrik-Jan known as Henry is a Dutch citizen, the Antwerp Police request Amsterdam Inspectors DeKok and Vledder to assist on their investigation.

The body is sent to Amsterdam for burial. Attending the funeral, DeKok notices another mourner Ronald Kriusberg who legally died over two years ago, but the very alive man flees before DeKok can detain him to learn why he is at the funeral as much as why he faked his demise. Not long after that incident Hendrik’s widow is stunned to learn her late spouse’s savings have been emptied. Nothing makes sense to DeKok who concludes that all roads lead to the Antwerp neighborhood of Bloedberg (Blood Mountain) where the Holy Pact for the Dying might include the victim as a signer.

In his twenty-third case, DeKok is at his best trying to find the ties between “dead” men in which every new clue makes the investigation seem fuzzier not lucid. DeKok seems so genuine and for an example when he chases after Richard he runs out of breathe rather quickly. Vledder enhances the inquiry especially with his continual questioning of why they are working a Belgium murder case. Fans of the series know this is always a super police procedural; newcomers have a lot of catching up to do.
Harriet Klausner

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