cover image Dekok and Murder in Ecstacy

Dekok and Murder in Ecstacy

Albert Cornelis Baantjer. Intercontinental Publishing, $9.95 (211pp) ISBN 978-1-881164-16-6

A bestselling mystery writer in his native Netherlands, Baantjer remains relatively and undeservedly unknown in the U.S., although this is the 17th (out of more than 40) DeKok mystery published here. Detective Inspector Jurriaan DeKok of the Amsterdam police is an unorthodox veteran. Here, he and his colleagues attempt to unsnarl a clever and violent $3-million robbery. The well-planned heist of the armored car is proceeding without a hitch until one of the two robbers looses his head and kills the unresisting driver. One thief, Richard Sloten, is quickly identified; but, by the time DeKok gets to him, he's already dead. His girlfriend identifies the other as an American-born junkie known as Peter Shot. DeKok's knowledge of the city and his network of connections allow him to sort out an ingeniously tricky mess. The translation is a bit wooden, but it doesn't interfere too much with the momentum of this intricate procedural. Despite his rank, DeKok is not above breaking the law when it suits his purpose or thumbing his nose at his superiors. Shrewd, compassionate and dedicated, DeKok makes a formidable opponent for criminals and a worthwhile competitor for the attention of Simenon's Maigret fans. (Feb.)