Pieter Aspe is the pseudonym of Pierre Aspeslag. He studied Latin sciences at the Sint-Leocollege in Bruges. After his degree in literature he followed for a short period the degree in sociology. He then worked as a storekeeper, salesman, employee, seasonal agent at the maritime police, photographer, tutor, wine merchant and concierge at Heilig-Bloedkapel in Bruges. Since 1996 he has been a full-time writer of detective novels.
One quiet snow-covered Sunday morning in Bruges, a prominent business executive is found dead in the streets, apparently due to an alcoholic hemorage, but for Inspector Van In, there is a something about the autopsy that does not add up. When he questions the businessman's friend, a Dutchman, he too is found dead the next morning, burned to death in a house fire.
When there is an explosion in the middle of a popular tourist area in downtown Bruges, Van In strives to find the connection between the three incidents, but no one is coming forward to claim responsibility for this terrorist attack. Just an anonymous letter to the police, threatening more bombings--unless they cooperate with a series of demands that would undermine the entire city government.
Aided by the spunky and beautiful assistant DA Hannelore Maartens, Inspector Van In finds himself enmeshed in the case that threatens not just the lives of countless of innocent people, but the heart of the city he loves.
What I think
Second book in the series dedicated to Van In, a commissioner from a small town in Flanders called Bruges. This time the commissioner has to investigate an unclear death, statues and monuments that someone wants to blow up in the city and history that goes back to Nazism.
The beautiful medieval architecture of Bruges belies the dark longings of her residents. When the wealthy and powerful Ludovic Degroof's jewelry store is broken into, nothing is stolen, but the jewels have been dissolved in jars if aqua regia, an acid so strong it can even melt gold. In the empty safe is a scrap of paper on which a strange square has been drawn. At first, Inspector Van In pays little attention to the paper, focusing on the bizarre nature of the burglary. But when Degroof's offspring also receive letters with this same square, Van In and the beautiful new DA Hannelore Martens find themselves unraveling a complex web of enigmatic Latin phrase and a baroness' fallen family and Degroof's relationship with a hostage grandchild, ransomed for a priceless collection of art.
About the Book
This is the first book of Pieter Aspe’s book series featuring Inspector Van In. This is a very old book, published first in Belgium in 1995 (it still has Francs as currency, I couldn’t understand the money!) and translated in Italian in 2009 and in English in 2013.
In this book, Van In meets the Deputy Public Prosecutor Hannelore Martens and they investigate a robbery in a jewelry store owned by Ghislain Degroof, the son of the powerful and wealthy Ludovic Degroof. However, this is not the usual robbery, because the gold is dissolved in aqua regia and the details suggest a personal motive. When Ludovic Degroof’s grandson is kidnapped, the case gets more difficult.
All my book reviews are and will be 100% honest. I don’t get paid to write them and I don’t get “gifts” to write a good review so what I write is what I think. If I love a book, I’m going to say that, if I don’t like a book, I will write why I don’t. My critics aren’t an attack to the author, they are just how I feel about a subject or a style. See more in my Review Policy.