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by A.C. Baantjer
Speck, January 2008
208 pages
ISBN: 1933108169

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Kristel van Daalen, comes to the Warmoes police station to report a disappearance. Her cousin, Nanette Bogaard, did not come home the previous night and she expects the worst. Kristel and Nanette own a flower store where Nanette is the creative genius and share an apartment. Though Nanette is something of a free spirit, she normally returns home every night no matter how late. Therefore she wants Inspector DeKok and his assistant, Vledders, to investigate Nanette’s absence as a possible murder. Kristel does not think a mere missing person inquiry will discover her cousin’s location.

While most detectives would think it much too soon to start a missing person inquiry, let alone a murder investigation, DeKok disagrees. He agrees that asking questions about Nanette’s movements might be a good idea and interviews Nanette’s boyfriend, her fiance, her cousin, and an addict brother. The more DeKok learns the more he believes she is dead. Nanette was more than merely carefree and had a disastrous effect on the lives of those around her. In addition, DeKok learns that his witnesses and suspects have been less than honest. In the interests of justice and to bring about closure for the innocent people involved in their investigation, DeKok and Vledders must find the truth.

DEKOK AND THE SOMBER NUDE is typical of the DeKok mystery series. DeKok uses his knowledge of Amsterdam and its criminal class to investigate the murder of someone seemingly unconnected to this darker world. He sees connections that his assistant Vledders does not see and in places Vledders does not. After DeKok has determined who the criminal in the investigation is, he explains his reasoning to both Vledders and the reader.

Even though this series is somewhat formalistic, I still enjoy reading the books. I enjoy this series when I am in the mode for laidback detectives with quirks (such as aching legs when things do not go well) who still manage to discover the truth. The fact that DeKok also has a strong sense of justice and has a problem with superior officers simply makes him more appealing.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, April 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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