Britcrime presents… Daniel Pembrey – The Harbour Master based in Amsterdam

With the Britcrime festival now only two days away, we meet another author on the ‘Quick Brit tour’ as we’re calling it and introducing you to crime writer who sets his novel The Harbour Master in the grim and grimy canals of Amsterdam. Talk about atmospheric and evocative!

So what’s it all about? –


The Harbour Master Trail

The Harbour Master is a Dutch detective series featuring maverick cop Henk van der Pol. It grew out of author Daniel Pembrey’s search for crime fiction set in Holland (in English translation) while visiting a close sister living there. Compared to neighbouring Scandinavia, Holland has produced relatively little crime fiction – which is surprising, given how suitably atmospheric its locations are! 

Amsterdam Harbour - Henk's Habitat
Amsterdam Harbour – Henk’s Habitat

All of Book 1 is set in Amsterdam. Henk is thinking about retirement there when he finds a woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. His detective instincts take over, even though it’s not his case. But his bigger challenge is deciding who his friends are – not to mention a vicious street pimp who is threatening Henk’s own family …

Book 2 starts in Rotterdam, and moves to Brussels and Antwerp as Henk investigates a maze-like set of cases involving diamonds, fine art, drugs and high-class prostitution. What connects the cases, and what risks must Henk run to uncover the criminals? Impeding him is his rival and boss Joost, who has an equal but quite separate interest in the investigation’s outcome …


The finale starts in Brussels, before traveling to Oslo, The Hague, Amsterdam, Noordwijk and Leiden. A powerful Dutch politician is hijacked, bearing parallels with the 1983 kidnapping of Freddy Heineken. Henk, who worked on the Heineken case at the start of his career, is now operating outside of the official investigation.

Henk becomes imprisoned himself in Leiden, and, with rival cop Joost emerging as the winner, Henk must navigate dark currents at the highest level of Dutch society.


Daniel Pembrey will discuss the Harbour Master series on July 12th, at the BritCrime online festival hosted by Helen Smith. Alongside him will be the acclaimed authors Quentin Bates, MJ McGrath and KT Media. For more information about this exciting event, please visit

The Harbour Master on Amazon

By Daniel Pembrey (visit his website here)


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