Translated from the original Dutch by Jonathan Reeder
On 31st July 1917, 26-year-old Englishman Robin Ryder clambers from a trench on the Flanders battlefields and charges recklessly towards the German artillery. Later he is heavily wounded by a German grenade; despite extensive plastic surgery, half his face will have to be hidden behind a mask.
At roughly the same moment, Lucien Hirschland, travelling salesman for the flourishing Nederlandsche Cocaïne Fabriek, brings in a big order from an English pharmaceutical company. Soon after this he closes a deal with a buyer for the German army. From his profits he treats himself to a much-longed-for Harley Davidson.
After the war, extraordinary circumstances find Ryder living in the Hirschland family home, where he is lovingly welcomed by Lucien’s younger sister, Swanee. Expectations and illusions grow, but gradually their lives spin out of control, as they learn that the war veteran has more to hide than his mutilated face.
A tense historical novel woven around the little-known fact that the Dutch sold cocaine to both sides during WW1, The Cocaine Salesmanis a multi-layered fictional story of self-deception, morality and betrayal.
About the Author
Conny Braam’s other books include Operatie Vula, De Bokkeslachter and Zwavel, a trilogy of novels about the Abraham family.