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.
About Janwillem Van De Wetering
Janwillem van de Wetering (1931–2008) was born and raised in Rotterdam, but lived most recently in Surry, Maine. He served as a member of the Amsterdam Special Constabulary and was once a Zen Buddhist monk. He is renowned for his detective fiction, including Outsider in Amsterdam, The Corpse on the Dike, The Japanese Corpse, and eleven other books in the Grijpstra and de Gier series.
Praise for Hard Rain
"Good thrillers are necessarily about good versus evil, but hardly any thrillers try to explore the philosophical nature of either one . . . A couple of attending virtues make Janwillem van de Wetering's new novel more than a routine case of venality and violence. One is a world-weary humor . . . the other is an exploration of a good guy's ethic and a bad guy's ethos."
—Los Angeles Times
"One of the more fetching outings for van de Wetering's offbeat Amsterdam cops—offering a leisurely, whimsical mixture of resourceful action, psychological confrontation, and philosophical repartee . . . An engaging excursion, dark-edged yet oddly lighthearted."
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review