cover image The Square of Revenge

The Square of Revenge

Pieter Aspe, trans. from the Dutch by Brian Doyle. Pegasus Crime (Norton, dist.), $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-60598-446-9

Offbeat characters and an unusual plot lift Belgian author Aspe’s first Pieter Van In novel to be translated into English. A relaxing Sunday for the detective inspector ends with a call from his boss, Chief Commissionaire De Kee, directing him to a bizarre crime in Bruges. A jewelry store has been burgled, but the brazen intruders didn’t steal the valuable contents. Instead, they dumped the loot in an aquarium tank filled with corrosive chemicals that destroyed bracelets, rings, necklaces, and earrings. Revenge against the Degroof family, owners of the store, appears to be the obvious motive, but De Kee throws Van In a curve by saying that it was not “essential per se that the culprit or culprits be arrested.” Van In and his eccentric cast of colleagues will be welcome companions for many readers, who will probably find comparisons to Simenon’s Maigret. (June)