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The Harbour Master

(Detective Henk van der Pol #1)

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3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,035 ratings  ·  64 reviews
An atmospheric Amsterdam detective investigation.

Henk van der Pol is a 30 year term policeman, a few months off retirement. When he finds a woman's body in Amsterdam Harbour, his detective instincts take over, even though it's not his jurisdiction. Warned off investigating the case, Henk soon realises he can trust nobody, as his search for the killer leads to the
...more
Kindle Edition, 386 pages
Published September 22nd 2016 by No Exit Press (first published March 27th 2014)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,035 ratings  ·  64 reviews


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Kylie H
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
This novel is set in Amsterdam in a location close to the red light district (RLD), I was hopeful that this would be a gritty crime story. However, the initial murder gets lost (as did I) in a story that encompasses politicians, the EU and hops between Brussels and Amsterdam. Criminal gangs, corrupt politicians and embassies etc. There was so much going on I lost the plot a few times and was not entirely sure by the end what exactly had happened and why. Not enough there to make me want to read ...more
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
I’ve decided to cheat on my TBR a little and I’ve had Daniel’s book on my TBR for ages. I had the pleasure of meeting him last year at an event in Goldsboro Books so I figured it’s high time o read this book. Especially as the follow-up, Night Market, has been released this year and I’m on the blog tour for it late next month.

The Harbour Master follows Henk van Der Pol as he finds himself in the vicinity of the discovery of a young woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. What follows is a story of
...more
Rachel Hall
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would rate this book a stunning 4.5 stars out of 5!

What a stroke of good fortune it was coming across Daniel Pembrey! After enjoying the first two novels of the Amsterdam Quartet by Jake Woodhouse, I was keen to read more Euro Noir set in the Dutch capital and I was alerted to Pembrey's talents. I certainly have someone to thank! He delivers a cracking good yarn, evident in all three of the novellas which are combined to make up The Harbour Master: The Collected Edition.

The attractions of
...more
Anne
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Originally published as three novellas, No Exit Press have brought the stories about Henk van der Pol together into one volume. They've done a great job, the book is presented beautifully and that cover is wonderful, and fits so well with the story inside.

I can't remember reading any crime books set in Amsterdam before and Daniel Pembrey certainly brings this place to life. I am old enough to remember watching Van der Valk on the television in the 70s, and I have to admit that the theme tune
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B
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, I so did. But, unfortunately, like most modern crime thrillers, it starts off exciting and pacy, but soon trundles down a road of standard clichés, and turns into a big convoluted mess.

Detective van del Pol discovers the body of a young woman off the harbour in the early morning. Like a typical cop, he wants to investigate further, but is deterred by younger guy Bergveld.
Van der Pol is sure something funny is going on, and seeks to investigate further behind
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Clare O'Beara
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: europe-crime
This is my review of the three-part story as published by the author, on the understanding that this is essentially the same book from a new publisher.
I'm giving this five stars for being a dense, multifaceted crime story, set in the Netherlands but skipping blithely around Europe as the leads take the cops.

Henk van der Pol is a mature policeman who lives on a houseboat in Amsterdam harbour with his wife Pernilla. He's coming up to retirement (which makes it strange that he later fights
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Hermien
I recognised a lot of the landmarks referred to but didn't really warm to Henk van de Pol. Maybe it was too close to home and I am too critical as the book is pretty much in line wit eg. Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole with a bit less physical damage being done to Henk.
Clare O'Beara
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe-crime
I'm giving this five stars for being a dense, multifaceted crime story, set in the Netherlands but skipping blithely around Europe as the leads take the cops.

Henk van der Pol is a mature policeman who lives on a houseboat in Amsterdam harbour with his wife Pernilla. He's coming up to retirement (which makes it strange that he later fights against the closure of his police station). He has dodgy friends and dedicated colleagues. He's got a student daughter who thinks nothing of disappearing for
...more
Jane Hunt
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-author

The Harbour Master (Detective Henk van der Pol, #1) by Daniel Pembrey

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The Harbour Master is a fast paced, suspenseful, political thriller set in Holland.

Henk is an experienced police officer based in the harbour district of Amsterdam. Contemplating retirement, partly due to the new regime at work his plans change when he discovers the body of a young woman floating in the harbour. Henk suspects foul play. Murder,
...more
Rob Kitchin
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The Harbour Master is a police procedural thriller set in Amsterdam. The lead protagonist is Henk van der Pol, a cop nearing retirement, who is very much his own man and is reluctant to retire quietly. When he suspects that an investigation is being deliberately stalled he decides to keep digging, placing himself and family in danger. From there Pembrey keeps layering in criminal intrigue and police and political corruption as Henk stumbles and prods, making and tangling with enemies close by. ...more
Rik
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Rik by: Nicki
This book is also shown on Goodreads as: The Harbour Master: The Collected Edition (The Harbour Master #1-3)
Easy to get into, and whilst not gripping, I felt engaged from the beginning with the characters and the plot. At times I wasn't sure I understood all the political goings on, as much is inferred rather than explained, though this didn't detract from the book - it just meant needing to cogitate a bit! It felt like the book was written with inside knowledge both of the countries and the
...more
Steph
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This atmospheric police procedural makes the most of its Amsterdam setting, making the characters and the world they inhabit a richly painted and intriguing mixture. Detective Henk van der Pol is an engaging lead, principled and maverick all at the same time. The Harbour Master is a great twist on the Nordic Noir side of crime fiction, and this is an author I'm looking forward to reading more from.
Malcolm Martland
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quite hard to get into initially, might just have been me! The plot picked up, however, and gripped my attention. When I'd finished I went back to the beginning to find out why the title was The Harbour Master, blink and you'll miss it!
Ewa
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Two key characters in THE HARBOUR MASTER are equally important: Henk van der Pol and Amsterdam. They cannot exist without each other.
Having spent years in the military and living abroad Henk is a maverick cop on the verge of retirement, the owner of a typical houseboat, strongly believing that ‘we Dutch remain at heart a seafaring people’. He is happy with his personal life, still attracted to his wife Pernilla, a newspaper features writer, and slightly anxious about daughter Nadia, a
...more
Thebooktrail
Booktrail your journey here: Travel To Amsterdam with Daniel Pembrey

A cracking start to the trilogy and a great guide to the city, culture and history of Amsterdam. Maybe not the kind of tour that the tourist centre would have on offer but it evokes and immerses you in every street, where you can smell the waffles in the air and hear the canal water lapping at your feet.

This is a dark Amsterdam with a great hero in Henk Van der Pol. I enjoyed getting to know him – and getting to know him is
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Ben
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I must admit I'm not much of a reader and haven't read a book in many years, however when on holiday with my partner in Amsterdam (Who does read) we decided to venture into a book store. While browsing I noticed a special two shelf section for crime novels based in Amsterdam. The Habour Master jumped out at me, and I made an impulse decision to buy the book.

Once I started reading I struggled to put the book down, Daniel Pembrey really painted an accurate picture of the place I was currently
...more
Mitch McCrimmon
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. Great characters, nice casual writing style. Engaging flow but without lacking in enough pace to keep me interested. Fascinating, complex plot. My only dislike was that I felt the author tackled way too many themes - conflict in the police domain, prostitution, marijuana growing, diamond dealing, large scale politics, kidnapping, murder, to name a few. I would have liked a bit more depth on a few issues rather than what seemed like a bit of everything. There was a ...more
Sharon
Aug 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ibook, purchased
The Harbour Master, Van der Pol #1 2016. Detective Henk van der Pol, Amsterdam, Daniel Pembrey, UK. iBook. 1/5!!
Will return to my rule to not read foreigners writing about other countries! Some excel. Others truly do not! So many truly dumb things. I started making a list but just gave up. But this was his first book and the short novella 2018 was much tighter and better. So... This storyline flips around various cities, countries and there are lots of descriptive areas / musings not needed.

The
...more
Jane Hunt
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Harbour Master The Collected Edition (Books 1-3) by Daniel Pembrey


5* Review:The Harbour Master

The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey

The Harbour Master is a fast paced, suspenseful, political thriller set in Holland.

Henk is an experienced police officer based in the harbour district of Amsterdam. Contemplating retirement, partly due to the new regime at work his plans change when he discovers the body of a young woman floating in the harbour. Henk suspects foul play. Murder, prostitution and trafficking all feature in this story. A series of incidents makes him distrust his colleagues and
...more
Hans Brienesse
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I am being a bit critical with this one. I enjoyed it a bit but it seemed a bit open ended both the beginning and the end. He was disliked, but it was never really revealed why. The end came with an unpredictability but, what happened? For a policeman on the outer he seemed able to do a lot that his colleagues couldn't. Some incidents seemed, to this reader, to be beyond the bounds of feasibility and this spoiled it for me somewhat. Three stars, read it and make your own mind up.
Anthony
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
On the espionage/politics end of crime, though with real crime elements too, this is the story of a detective who has 'been-around-the-block' and how he deals with the crime, the gangs and the political machinations of his bosses, and those above them. The story of his family - his journalist wife and adult daughter - provides tension too but above all, the sense of place of Amsterdam is real, interesting and fascinating (with some scenes set in Den Haag too). Dutch noir. Gripping stuff.
Ambrus Tövisházi
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Should read the next one in the series! Great atmosphere, characters you have to pay attention to. Beware: makes you want to book a flight to Amsterdam!

The next one is better though, if you have doubts, move on to Night Market, I moved on after finishing this one and read it in a few days...

Though these two stories are connected very much, its a bit like reading one book.

Good luck Henk, cant wait to see you again.

David Bisset
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Complex and atmospheric

The details concerning Dutch life and society ring true. The Netherlands is a complex country! I know Amsterdam well, and Daniel Pembrey depicts it graphically. The hero is not unlikeable and the plot holds together - just. Certain aspects of the administrative framework seem unlikely, but perhaps that demonstrates the unexpected aspects of a country which is fundamentally very different than one would superficially suppose!
Candy Denman
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a very fast moving, almost breathless thriller and was, at times, confusing with all the different people and stories coming and going, often with little explanation. There were also a lot of real news stories referenced, some of which were interesting and a lot of euro politics. Having said that, I loved the descriptions of Amsterdam and the main characters, so I will persevere as this series could turn into a really good one, once the writer stops trying to cram so much into one book!
Sue Pratt
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite enjoyed this detective fiction from Daniel Pembrey set in Amsterdam. The protagonist is a detective, Henk who is at the end of his career but can't help getting himself into everything at hand. I enjoyed his distain for his superiors as well as his bending of the rules to get to the truth.
Looking forward to reading the second one in this series.
Pirate
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
Highly entertaining thriller with engaging principal character Henk van der Pol world weary but straight detective with an interesting family life. The plot is strong and well woven between lowlife criminals and senior police and politicians getting mixed up in nefarious deeds. Very enjoyable and will definitely read the sequels.
Wendy Hearder-moan
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The main character spends a lot of time wondering what the heck is going on...and I felt the same way. Unlike me, however, he manages to figure it out! I might read the next in the series, just to see if it grows on me, because I found the characters to be interesting.
Shivani Juneja
Oct 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic!!!!!!!

Never to be recommended to any literate human!A book that inspires incredulity at the falling standards of printed fiction.James Bond has more literary value!!!!!
iain  finlayson
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good book that makes Amsterdam come alive. The book moved along at a good pace, though the plot jumped about a bit.

Now that Henk van der Pol has been introduced to us, I am sure that there is more to come.
Jane
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read this as a collection of the three books and maybe that’s why I couldn’t follow it very well. It was disjointed and confusing and I struggled to read to the end. One star for the plot with an extra star for not being full of typos and grammatical errors.
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Daniel Pembrey grew up in Nottinghamshire, England — beside Sherwood Forest. He studied history at Edinburgh University and spent over a decade working in America and more recently Luxembourg, coming to rest in Amsterdam and London — dividing his time now between these two great maritime cities. He is the author of the Henk van der Pol detective series and several short thriller stories, and he ...more

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Detective Henk van der Pol (2 books)
  • Night Market (Detective Henk van der Pol #2)
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