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Police procedural set in wintry Amsterdam

18th January 2021

A Death At the Hotel Mondrian by Anja de Jager, a police procedural set in wintry Amsterdam.

Police procedural set in wintery Amsterdam

This is another outing for Lotte Meerman in Amsterdam. The series is nice and easy to follow and each book delightfully transports the reader to the Netherlands.

Lotte is out very early one morning when she comes across a battered body, a man lying on the ground, assaulted and left for dead. The victim’s wife firmly puts her ex in the frame for the attack but somehow things don’t add up. As Lotte is winding up the crime scene, a man approaches her to announce, curiously, that he is still alive. He says he is Andre Niewkamp who, several decades ago, was the subject of a big murder investigation, and he was the person who was seemingly murdered!! Dead. The police at the time went to great lengths to establish that the discovered skeletal remains were actually his, it was an all round resounding success for the force. The thought of unpicking such a milestone case is hard to countenance!

The assertion by this man that he is Niewkamp is, of course, a very perplexing turn of events and things become even more vexing when his body is found just hours later at the eponymous hotel of the title. DNA (unavailable at the time of his supposed death) confirms that he was indeed who he claimed to be; yet he was travelling from England under the assumed name of Theo Brand. The plot thickens!

Lotte starts trawling back through time and discovers all kinds of issues that seem to be forming a very odd overall picture. She follows the trail to Putney, she looks into a staunch religious community and she is aware that abusive behaviour has raised its ugly head; but she is a savvy detective and starts to piece together the puzzle.

The novel is set in Winter and she paints a good picture of the city of Amsterdam, as she cycles through the centre to her home and to the home of her boyfriend, Mark. She is supportive to her mother and ensures she makes time to see her, although her mother can be quite an abrupt, undermining sort. Lotte has her work cut out in virtually every area of her life, including her adult intimate relationship. But that is the plight of the fictional police officer that they each have their crosses to bear, and Lotte is no exception.

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