Crime Fiction on a Euro Pass: Holland

The idea behind Crime Fiction on a Euro Pass, run by Kerrie, is that participants write a post linked to the country of the week.

This week’s stop there is a choice of either Holland or Belgium. I’ve chosen Holland, with two books set in Amsterdam.

First a book I reviewed in January 2008:

The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan.

[Thief2.jpg]This was the 2007 winner of Long Barn Books First Novel Award. From the back cover: ‘œCharlie Howard writes caper novels about a career thief. He also happens to be one.’

The description of Amsterdam conveys its atmosphere, canals and buildings very well for some one like me, who has never been there. Charlie is asked by an American to steal two little monkey figurines to make up the set ‘œSee no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’. They don’t appear to have any value and he has to steal them from two different people on the same night. Then the American is found murdered and at first Charlie is suspected of being the murderer.

From that point on the book moves at a fast pace through all the ins and outs of the mystery ‘“ who did murder the American, why, what is the significance of the monkeys? At the same time Charlie has a problem with a book he is writing and spends time on the phone discussing the difficulties of sorting out the plot with Victoria, his agent in London.

It kept me guessing and amused and I raced through it to find out what happens.

There are more Charlie Howard mysteries:

  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice

And for more information check out Chris Ewan’s blog – The Good Thief’s Blog.

Secondly, a book I read in May 2006, before I began this blog:

book cover of   The Apothecary's House   by  Adrian MathewsThe Apothecary’s House by Adrian Mathews. As I didn’t write anything about it other than this in my list of books read – ‘Set in Amsterdam – a good mystery novel‘ and I no longer have the book, here is a summary from Fantastic Fiction:

When an old woman storms into the Rijks Museum demanding the return of her painting, archivist Ruth Braams cannot quell her curiosity. Together with Myles, her gay confidant, Ruth delves into the history of the piece of looted Nazi art and discovers an enigmatic picture with a disturbing wartime provenance. It also appears that the elderly Lydia is not the only claimant and, against strict bureau regulations, Ruth endeavours to help strengthen her case. Days later, Ruth begins to receive sinister anonymous threats, warning her to stay away from Lydia and the painting. When the door of her home, a houseboat on the Bloemgracht canal, is covered in graffiti and her gas supply tampered with, Ruth is convinced these are deterrents from the rival claimant. Our irrepressible and emotionally troubled heroine refuses to take them at face value and continues to strike up a friendship with the lonely old lady. But as the threats escalate, Ruth realises that there must be far more to the painting’s popularity, and she enters into a series of increasingly lethal adventures as she investigates the painting’s secret symbolism…

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