DeKok and the Somber Nude
Speck, Jan 2008, $14.00
On a rainy day, Kristel van Daalen with two A’s comes to Amsterdam’s Warmoes Street police station to report her nineteen years old cousin Nanette Bogaard with a double A is missing. Kristel explains to Inspectors DeKok and Vledders that she and Nanette co-own the Ye Three Roses floral shop, which they bought with money they inherited. She further explains that Nanette is an artistic free spirit, but always came home to the apartment they share above the store. Kristel believes Nanette is dead.
Vledders thinks it is too soon to assume foul play, but DeKok has a hunch that something bad has occurred to Nanette. They begin making inquiries starting with a spawned reporter Barry Weilen that lead to Kristel’s addict brother, a “Somber Nude” painting done by Pierre Popko and aging paramour Staaten and his adult son. They see a picture of a mesmerizing serpent wearing an angel’s garb before the dismembered corpse of Nanette is found in a garbage dump. The now murder investigation keeps tilting like a pin ball game that flickers back and forth between anyone who was in Nanette’s sphere.
This is a fabulous DeKok mystery once readers accept the inspectors take on the missing person case (most will agree with Vledders that its pouring rain, less than 24 hours, and she is nineteen). The story line is driven by DeKok’s investigation as each new clue he uncovers seems to open more questions rather than resolving any of them. Fans of this superb Dutch police procedural series will gain immense pleasure from the latest translation.