Saturday, June 28, 2014

DeKok & Murder in Ecstasy: Review

DeKok and Murder in Ecstasy is the 18th installment of A. C. Baantjer's unflappable, sympathetic Inspector Jurriaan DeKok. DeKok is careful, painstaking detective who has often been compared to Simenon's Maigret. His partner, Vledder, is often exasperated with him and finds it difficult to follow DeKok's train of thought. Both his partner and his superior, Commissaris (Captain) Buitendam, cannot understand how he operates. But the patient Inspector always gets his man...or woman as the case may be.

Murder in Ecstasy is a tale of a fantastic heist and a trail of murder. Two men waylay an armored transport carrying more than $3 million. In the course of the robbery, one of the men shoots and kills the driver--bringing even more attention to their daring crime than anticipated. They take off in a red Alfa Romeo and head to an alternate vehicle, a blue Jaguar, parked conveniently on a deserted road. The shooter promptly eliminates his inconvenient partner and leaves him behind in a small town. Then the blue Jag and three million dollars just seem to disappear into thin air. As DeKok and Vledder investigate, their witnesses and suspects fall victim to the same gun and the policemen are left with more questions than answers. Why was the transport carrying an unusually large amount of money on this run? Why did the driver change his route? The robbery was so well planned--How did the criminals find out the details of the transport. Who is Peter Shot and why did he disappear three weeks before the crime? And why was an ornate doll stolen from the mother of the murdered thief? DeKok doesn't believe in coincidence and he doesn't trust the easy answers that his superior wants him to accept. He knows the crime is much more complicated than it appears and that finding the right murderer is the only way to find the missing money.

Baantjer's prose is very enjoyable to read in translation. Despite DeKok's patient, slow-paced methods, the book is a quick and delightful read. The mysteries tend to have a hint of the bizarre, but there is generally a straight-forward answer hiding behind the oddness. Overall, a good police procedural--well-plotted and interesting.  Good characterization. I can well understand why Baantjer is one of the most widely read authors in the Netherlands.  All for ★★★ and a half stars on the rating scale.

This fulfills the "Translation" square on the Silver Vintage Bingo card.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

I'm definitely intrigued by the heist aspect to this story. Great review!