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Thursday, 5 November 2015

‘A Cold Death in Amsterdam’ by Anja De Jager

Published by Constable,
5 November 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-20595
Lotte Meerman is a detective with the Amsterdam police, currently working with a Cold Case team. Still emotionally disturbed by her previous investigation, and finding it difficult to sleep, and reluctant to take the pills prescribed by her doctor, Lotte has taken to driving in the early hours to calm herself.  On one of these jaunts a chance encounter at a petrol station leads her to a 10-year-old unresolved murder case.

The case was handled by the police department in Alkmaar, and her father, now retired, was the lead detective.  She quickly discovers irregularities in the original investigation, and a meeting with her father, the first for many years, far from clearing the matter up, muddies the waters still further.

Lotte is, to put it bluntly, a mess. The resolution of her previous case, which has given her plaudits and notoriety, has left her traumatised and in turmoil.  The reason for this unfolds gradually as the book proceeds.   However, that is not the full story, for her personal life even prior to her recent case was far from happy.   But the one thing she always had which was in many respects her saviour, is her job. Now that too is in jeopardy, as the family connection to the case means she should hand it to someone else to investigate, but if she does, how can she protect her father’s role in the original case.  Her only hope is to find the killer, before anyone finds out what she now believes her father did.

Fraught with lies, deceit, misunderstanding and misdirection this is a page turner, as Lotte tries vainly to keep all the balls in the air, and one step ahead of everyone. But others in the team are following leads and uncovering information, and they are not all on Lotte’s side, ‘some would’ be glad of her downfall.

Set in winter in Amsterdam, the book is atmospheric and a compelling read, and highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Anja de Jager is a London-based native Dutch speaker who writes in English. She draws inspiration from cases that her father, a retired police detective, worked on in the Netherlands. She has written a number of short stories, some of which have been shortlisted for Mslexia. She is currently working on another Lotte Meerman novel, The Murder's Guide to the Family, which Constable will publish in 2016.

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