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Synopsis

On a stormy night in Amsterdam, banker Martin Ijsbreker is killed by a sniper as he sits by an open window at his home along the Binnenkant Canal. Three junkies then enter Ijsbreker's house, arrange his death to look like suicide and steal valuables for which they will be paid in heroin. The next day the addicts are found dead of overdoses in a houseboat on the Binnenkant, and Chief Inspector Halba, in charge of the Murder Brigade while his superior, the commissaris, is on holiday, dismisses their deaths as accidental. The commissaris and his trusted subordinates, Adjutant Grijpstra and Sergeant de Gier, heroes of van de Wetering's superlative Dutch crime series (Outsider in Amsterdam, The Rattle-Rat, etc.), suspect that the four deaths on the canal are linked, especially since Ijsbreker had been an officer at the Banque du Credit and connected to its nefarious affiliate, the Society for Help Abroad, both run by evil Willem Fernandus. But the virtuous trimuvirate are ordered off the case and relieved of their duties by Amsterdam's corrupt chief of police. How can they catch a gang of murderous criminals when, as de Gier says, "We're the only good guys left"? Happily, they manage to, in a fast-moving story that combines action, detection, satire, Zen philosophy and pure fun, and shows van de Wetering to be at the top of his form.

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