فصل 10

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Chapter ten

A policeman

‘And what makes you think,’ asked de Vries, ‘that this betting syndicate, the Amsterdam Connection, has got anything to do with Mr Christiaans?’

I was talking to Inspector Joop de Vries, head of the Amsterdam Police Murder Squad, at police headquarters on Elandsgracht. It was time, I had decided, to see if we could work together. But he was a tall unsmiling man and he wasn’t easy to talk to - I could see why Elly didn’t like him.

‘It’s a guess,’ I said, ‘but I think it’s worth looking into.’

De Vries stared at me. He wasn’t a man who liked to guess. I could see that I wasn’t getting anywhere. And it wasn’t very pleasant sitting in his office. It was filled with cigarette smoke and his desk was a mess.

‘And then there’s this guy that I met in de Pijp… ‘ I said.

‘This guy?’ de Vries asked, putting another cigarette in his mouth.

‘Yes, I can’t tell you his name, but - ‘

‘Miss Jensen,’ said de Vries, trying to be patient, ‘how can I accept the word of someone whose name I do not know?

There was silence for a moment. I wanted to leave right then, but decided to try a little longer.

‘But he says that Max Carson was already dead when he arrived in de Pijp,’ I said, ‘and the guy that you’ve got, this Schaap guy - he just stole his wallet.’

De Vries said nothing.

‘And then I was attacked, of the street outside my hotel,’ I said. ‘Somebody was trying to frighten me.’

I was sure that whoever had attacked me was trying to stop me from finding the truth.

‘I’m very sorry about that Miss Jensen,’ said de Vries. ‘Amsterdam is quite a safe city, but these things do happen.’

I wondered how I was going to make this man understand.

‘And the evidence?’ he continued, blowing cigarette smoke over his desk into my face. “Where’s your evidence? The only thing you have is the story of a man who is almost certainly a criminal himself.’

‘I don’t have any evidence yet. That’s my problem,’ I said calmly. ‘Anyway, I’m not a policewoman, Inspector, I’m a news reporter. You’re the ones who are supposed to find the evidence,’ I reminded him.

That was a mistake. De Vries was not the kind of guy who liked to be told how to do his job. ‘Now look, Miss Jensen,’ he said, suddenly sitting up straight. ‘I suggest you keep to your job and I’ll keep to mine. We work with evidence around here. As you say, you are not a policewoman. Perhaps it’s best to keep out of it. You people Just make our job more difficult,’ he added.

The police were the same in Holland as they were in England, I thought. Always complaining about reporters.

‘Look, Inspector,’ I said, trying to stay calm, ‘I’ve come here to give you some information. There’s nothing in it for me. I just thought you might look into it.’

I stood up to leave. I got the feeling that I was talking to myself and wasting a lot of time. I had to get hold of some evidence. I left de Vries in his smoky office sitting at his messy desk. I had a football match to see.

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