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Authors: Janwillem Van De Wetering

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Blond Baboon

BOOK: Blond Baboon
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Also by Janwillem van de Wetering

F
ICTION

The Grijpstra-de Gier series:

Outsider in Amsterdam
   
   
The Streetbird
Tumbleweed
   
   
The Rattle-Rat
The Corpse on the Dike
   
   
The Amsterdam Cops
Death of a Hawker
   
   
Hard Rain
The Japanese Corpse
   
   
Just a Corpse at Twilight
The Maine Massacre
   
   
The Hollow-Eyed Angel
The Mind-Murders
   
   
The Perfidious Parrot

Other:

Inspector Saito’s Small Satori

The Butterfly Hunter

Bliss and Bluster

Seesaw Millions

Murder by Remote Control

Mangrove Mama

A
UTOBIOGRAPHY

The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery

A Glimpse of Nothingness: Experiences in an American

Zen Community

B
IOGRAPHY

Robert van Gulik: His Life, His Work

C
HILDREN’S
B
OOKS

Hugh Pine

Hugh Pine and the Good Place

Hugh Pine and Something Else

Little Owl

Copyright © 1978 by Janwillem van de Wetering

All rights reserved.

Published by
Soho Press, Inc.

853 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Van de Wetering, Janwillem, 1931—

The blond baboon / Janwillem Van de Wetering.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-1-56947-063-3

eISBN 978-1-56947-829-5

1. Grijpstra, Henk (Fictitious character)—Fiction.

2. DeGier, Rinus (Fictitious character)—Fiction.

3. Police—Netherlands—Amsterdam—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3572.A4292B5 1996

813’.54—dc20

96-20039

CIP

10 9 8 7 6 5 4

Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

To
Alexander Stillman

\\\\\ 1 /////

“B
IT OF A BREEZE
,” D
ETECTIVE
-A
DJUTANT
G
RUPSTRA
*
said

Detective-Sergeant de Gier agreed with him but he didn’t say so. He didn’t have to. Hie pale gray Volkswagen he was trying to steer through the wide, empty thorough-fare of Spui in the center of Amsterdam had just been pushed onto the sidewalk and had stopped, thanks to his timely braking, at about an inch from a lamppost. The engine was still running and he reversed the car, bumping hard on the uneven pavement. The gale, which had started as a deadly suck of cold air, touching the frightened faces of the capital’s citizens around lunchtime, had grown to such strength that it could be called a hurricane. It had forced the inhabitants of Holland’s flat, below-sea-level coast to go home early, to watch the worrisome weather from behind the plate glass of apartments or the dainty windows of narrow gable houses. They listened to radios and watched TV and noted die State Weather Bureau’s forecasts that grew a little more serious as the minutes ticked by. They knew mat the authorities had been taken by surprise but that the emergency was being dealt with, and mat the dikes were manned, and that heavy earthmoving machinery was on its way to the danger areas, where high seas were threatening man-made defenses and strengthening their attack methodically, repeating their onslaught every half-minute, raising roaring, foam-topped water mountains in deadly rushes, whipped by shrieking blasts of furious air.

But Sergeant de Gier wasn’t concerned with the overall danger of the calamity. He was only trying to do his duty, which, right now, consisted of keeping the Volkswagen moving. He was on normal patrol duty in the city, together with his immediate superior, the large adjutant who was peacefully smoking a small cigar while he held on to the car’s roof and commented on the weather.

Grijpstra turned his heavy head, topped by a whitish gray millimetered bristle, and smiled almost apologetically. “Not too many people around, eh?”

The sergeant, who had got the small car back on the road and was preparing for a U-turn, grunted agreeably.

They are at home,” Grijpstra explained, “where they should be. Maybe they are in bed already, it’s nearly eleven. Watch it!”

Grijpstra pointed. De Gier’s mourn opened in a soundless shout. An elm, a full-grown tree over forty feet high, was ready to break. They could hear the protesting wood creak and saw die trunk split. De Gier shifted into reverse and pressed the accelerator with his toe. The car began to move, whining. The tree fell ponderously, its foliage touching the round nose of the Volkswagen. Grijpstra sighed.

De Gier was ready to say something but the car’s radio had come to life. “Three-fourteen,” the radio said politely. “Three-fourteen, come in.”

“Go on driving,” Grijpstra said. “There are other trees.” He had grabbed the microphone from under the dashboard. “Three-fourteen.”

“A little job for you, adjutant,” the well-modulated voice of a female constable in the radio room of Amsterdam’s police headquarters said. “A car of the uniformed police is asking for assistance. They are in the Kalverstraat. Where are you, three-fourteen?’

“Spui.”

“Good, you are close. A lot of store windows in die Kalverstraat are smashed by garbage cans. A thief had a go at a jeweler’s display and was seen but got away. A small fellow, a little over five feet, long black hair, short new leather jacket. In his late twenties. The colleagues think he is still close by.”

“Right,” Grijpstra said without any enthusiasm. “We’ll join the chase on foot so that we can see what is falling on us.”

“Good luck, adjutant. Out.”

Grijpstra was still clambering out of the Volkswagen when de Gier sprinted away, leaning over to counterbalance die gale’s driving force. Grijpstra cursed gently as he moved his bulk into motion. The athletic sergeant was waiting for him on the sidewalk, sheltered behind a parked truck.

“Which way?” de Gier asked. Grijpstra pointed as he ran.

“Let’s try the alleys.”

De Gier jumped ahead, veering toward the protected side of a side street while the wind howled along store-fronts, pulling at signboards and gutters. A lid of a garbage can obstructed his way and he jumped and shouted a warning, but the adjutant had seen it and kicked the rolling disc so dial it shot off at a tangent. A few cardboard boxes followed the lid and the policemen avoided them, turning into a passage that would take them to the main shopping center of the Kalverstraat. Grijpstra stopped running.

“In here somewhere,” he panted. “He is bound to be somewhere around here. In the Kalverstraat he can be seen—the stores all have glass porches. Let’s go.”

“Wait,” de Gier said softly and put out a restraining hand.

“Whatr

“I think I saw a head pop out, over there. I’ll go.”

Grijpstra grinned as he watched the sergeant’s progress.

De Gier was sliding with slow, exaggerated movements. His tall slim shape merged with the alley’s shadows. The hunter, the deadly hunter. But Grijpstra stopped grinning. He was sure that de Gier would make his kill. Ferocious, he thought. Very.

As de Gier jumped ahead and flattened himself against die aged, crumbling front of a small house, Grijpstra stepped back and drew out his heavy service pistol, loading it as he jerked it out of its cracked holster. He shook his head. There had been times, not so long ago, that he wouldn’t have thought of drawing his gun, but thieves were changing. Hit-and-run thieves were usually armed these days, with knives mostly, with firearms occasionally if they were desperate enough, because the drug habit was forcing them to be desperate. He covered the slow-moving sergeant, edging inch by inch along his wall. The sergeant reached the porch and froze. There was no movement for a little while. The gale seemed to have the alley to itself, wheezing up strength while it rattled windows and doors tentatively. The thief would show himself again. The thief was in there. The thief was nervous. The thief wanted to know what was happening.

Out popped the head. Long shiny black hair framing a furtive eye peeping over the tumed-up collar of a leather jacket. The sergeant’s hand shot out and grabbed the head by the hair and pulled. The thief tumbled from the porch. A plastic bag dropped and clanged as it bit the pavement’s gleaming bricks. A knife flashed.

“Police,”
Grijpstra roared. The knife fell too. The sergeant’s thumb had found the thief’s wrist and had pressed it cruelly while his fingers twisted. The thief squeaked.

“Handcuffs,” de Gier said, and Grijpstra put his gun back and produced the required article. The cuffs clicked. De Gier blew his whistle. The shrill earsplitting sound cut through the gale’s roar. Two uniformed constables came running into the alley.

“Ha!” the constables shouted. “Got him!”

“Got him,” de Gier said. “Here you are, with the compliments of your CID.
*
Why didn’t you catch him yourselves? We’re supposed to drive about quietly and not to interfere.”

“We are old men,” the constable facing de Gier said, “and we like to give others a chance. Nasty wind, what?”

“Bit of a breeze,” Grijpstra agreed. “You don’t mind if we go back to our car, do you? If it is still there—an elm nearly got it just now. Did you see this man break in?”

“I didn’t break in,” the thief said. “The window was all broken and the stuff was spilling out into the street so I picked it up to take to a police station, but these fools were running and firing their guns so I ran too. I don’t want to get killed.”

Grijpstra patted the narrow leather shoulder. “Professional, are we?”

The thief looked up. His eyes had widened with fear and he shivered.

“We’ll take him. You want your handcuffs back, adjutant?”

“Of course, constable. My private property, I saved up for them.”

The cuffs were taken off and the constable brought out another pair. The thief looked unhappy. “Ouch! Too tight!”

“They are not too tight,” the constable said, tugging the steel grips gently. “See? Plenty of room. We’ll take them off at the station. Come along.”

BOOK: Blond Baboon
13.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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