Pieter Aspe is a Flemish writer, whose mystery series featuring Inspector Pieter Van In is popular in Belgium. [b:The Square of Revenge|16255206|The Square of Revenge|Pieter Aspe|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1358751567s/16255206.jpg|2981829], originally published in 1995, has been translated into English for the first time. Based on this book, many standard elements of mysteries and crime fiction are in evidence in the series -- the seasoned inspector who has a lonely personal life, the beautiful public prosecutor, a political milieu which causes headaches for Van In and his superiors. What Aspe adds, and adds well, is a sense of setting (Bruges) and an imaginative approach to crimes. He also writes with a light touch.
In this novel, Van In and the Deputy Public Prosecutor Hannelore Martens team up to investigate a burglary in a jewelry store owned by Ghislain Degroof, the son of the powerful, wealthy, well-connected Ludovic Degroof. However, this is not the usual burglary, and the specific details of the case suggest a very personal motive. When Ludovic Degroof's grandson is kidnapped, the case gets more urgent.
I had fun reading this book. I had some quibbles -- in particular, the tendency to focus so much attention on Martens' physical appearance drove me crazy, and her relationship with Van In didn't make much sense to me. However, Aspe describes the ensuing investigation with humor. This is a fast read, and very entertaining, especially as Van In and Martens attempt to learn more of the secrets of the Degroof family. An entertaining and fast paced read, perfect for the summer.
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.