IT'S a borderless Europe, but one that is bigger and more corrupt than ever before, as Tess Amant, former star reporter for a major US newspaper and now an Amsterdam café owner, finds out when a dead body leads police directly to her door. Entanglements with a Dutch homicide detective and gorgeous Russian undercover cop lead Tess to the murky backwaters of the old English North Sea port of Harwich, to the massive container jungle of Rotterdam Harbour and finally to Gulf of Finland, where a major international smuggling ring is found operating out of one of the oldest and most elegant of the palaces of St. Petersburg.
Below is an excerpt from the novel Deadly Deception
THERE is a lot to be said for intuition. I had been trying to improve my odds on this front lately but for the most part, like today for example, it was a hit and miss affair.
I’d been standing behind the bar nursing a cup of coffee when the guy pushed open the door to my café. It was a retrofit, one of the hundreds of barges that lined the River Amstel on the south side of Amsterdam. He wore a black sports coat, matching T-shirt and fashionably faded jeans. Graying hair might have put him into middle age but he walked with the grace of a man far younger and I didn’t need intuition to tell me why. I’d done enough martial arts over the years to peg him for a weapons man, probably sword. The look he gave me when he straddled the bar stool across from me, however, had nothing to do with martial arts. It was the same one my cat had just before it pounced.
"Theresa Amant?" The voice had only a trace of the gravelly Amsterdam dialect I’d become used to in my 20 years of living in this city.
“Tess,” I said.
"Inspector Henk de Weg." I registered the jolt of electricity in the handshake he gave me but my mind had already moved on to ticking off a mental checklist of bureaucratic crimes I might have accidentally committed that would bring a cop to my doorstep. Parking tickets? Taxes? As far as I knew, I was paid up, and then some. If I put my garbage out on the wrong day, I would get a hefty fine from the city’s environmental cops but not a personal chat with one of the their top detectives.
"There was a body found at the graveyard just up the road, Ma’am," he told me, fishing inside his coat and slapping a badge on the counter.
“Okay,” I said, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t. Dead bodies hadn’t even been close to getting on my checklist.. De Weg’s division was homicide.
© Copyright - Marlene Edmunds 2012