The Devil's Spoor
three wealthy jewish businessmen murdered in cape town, murders so heinous that it perturbs the forensic pathologist. is this racism, devil worship or drug related? two paintings missing out of two of the homes are the only clues. searching for the killer and dodging attempts on his life wherever he goes rian schröder follows the spoor of the paintings to kraków, berlin and back to cape town More
three wealthy jewish businessmen murdered in cape town. with surgical skill the testes of all three victims had been surgically removed and the eyes gouged out and neatly folded into the scrotum. the police do not find a clue and brigadier rian schröder is called in. was this an act of racism or satanic, cult, drug or gangster related? rian sends pictures of the victims to the fbi who surmise that the killer was sending a message. a message of what? rian takes pictures of the victims to a professor in traditional superstitions, cults, and religious indoctrination at the university of cape town and she tells him to see something of the past being reproduced for therein will he find the answer. in their bank statements rian discovers two of the victims recently bought a painting from the third, an art dealer, but the paintings are missing. the spoor of the paintings leads him to a lawyer who is handling the estate of inge, wife of the late sarel croucamp, former senator and cabinet minister, who hands him two small faded pictures of the paintings. the croucamps had two children, steff and katrina who both emigrated to germany. katrina joined bader meinhoff and gave birth to a daughter eva before she was killed. the paintings had been in inge’s possession for more than six decades, why were they only stolen now and with such brutality? rian visits the croucamp farm in the ceres district and meets sarel’s elderly sister hannah and her husband walter muller, an expatriate from argentina. he sends copies of the pictures to interpol who report that the ryback museum in israel identified the pictures. the artists were two russian jews and during world war two the pictures were stolen from the estate of a wealthy polish jew in kraków. rian calls on inge’s granddaughter professor eva croucamp in stellenbosch. she is anything but the stern academic he expected. the nordic beauty is a natural blonde with large blue eyes and a smile that would melt steel, and she seduces him with ease. rian follows the spoor of the paintings to kraków, berlin and back to south africa, and wherever he goes he has to dodge attempts on his life. in kraków tuvia whose job it is to retrieve missing valuables and herzke rosenfelder an israeli police officer take rian to meet lodka, borzykowski’s daughter. they tell rian the story of the devil of kraków, brigadeführer achim burgsmuller who appropriated the borzykowski property for his offices when he was appointed chief of the gestapo for poland. achim was a brutal sadist. the day he arrived at the estate he sent lodka’s parents and their staff to a death camp and raped the ten-year old lodka. achim had a taste for young girls and anyone who opposed him was sent to a death camp. in 1943 when achim was transferred to berlin he took the paintings with him. he disappeared before the final curtain rang down on germany. after the war the nuremberg court found him guilty of war crimes and in abstentia sentenced him to be executed. rian is shocked by what he sees at auschwitz. the only remaining smoke stack of one of the death ovens symbolizes a penis and this triggers a thought–see something of the past being reproduced. in berlin he visits a repository of the dossiers of 4.5 million members of the nazi party and makes a number of momentous discoveries and he returns home. tuvia and herzke turn up in cape town to lay claim to the paintings that are still missing. tuvia disappears; then rian’s aide colonel jenna-wade knapton; then a suspect, dr. amarilis jimenez, a cuban surgeon; and finally eva disappears. searching for the four women rian is taken captive by the killer and he hears that his car with his i.d. and his walther ppk will be driven over a cliff. on the seat will be an open can of petrol that will ignite and explode and herzke who will be behind the steering wheel will be burnt beyond recognition. what is the captor’s intention with rian, and what is the fate of the four women?