Saturday, April 11, 2015

Murder in Bruges and a Secret From the Past

A young couple are restoring a badly deteriorated farm house when they discover a skeleton in the backyard. Commissioner Van In and his wife, Deputy Prosecutor Hannelore, get the case. At first it seems to be a mysterious death, but when the skeleton is a murder victim the case changes.

The farm was first owned by one of the wealthiest men in Bruges. He donated it to charity and from there it found it's way to the young couple. Donation to a charity seems straight forward, but many of the wealthiest men in Bruges were involved, and when one of them turns up dead, the picture changes.

This is straightforward detective fiction. There are no surprising twists until the end, but even there it's fairly easy to see what's coming. The story is carried by the main characters. Van In is gruff and doesn't like a lot of people. Hannelore is young, beautiful and pregnant with their first child. She is the more sympathetic character.

I was disappointed that there weren't more descriptions of Bruges. It's a fascinating city. The other problem is the names. Many of them start with 'V' and that makes it hard to remember who's who early in the novel. This is a somewhat unfair criticism because this book is a translation. However, it can make it difficult to enjoy the novel.

If you like detective fiction with engaging characters, you may like this one. The plot is not original, but the characters are interesting and the foreign atmosphere is a plus.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.