The Pilgrim Conspiracy by Jeroen Windmeijer
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.3 MB
A shocking murder, a hidden manuscript and a worldwide cult… The normally quiet Dutch town of Leiden is horrified when the chairman of the local Masonic lodge is brutally killed. Almost simultaneously, an old manuscript is discovered in which an anonymous author tells the hidden history of the Pilgrims – the Founding Fathers of the United States. From 1609 to 1620 they lived in Leiden, after which some of them left for America. University teacher Peter de Haan is drawn into the mystery. Why did so many of the Pilgrims stay behind in Leiden? What involvement do the Freemasons have? And what relationship did Peter’s girlfriend have with the murdered chairman? At breakneck speed, this story sweeps you away to the narrow alleys of Leiden to the vast waters of Cape Cod to the scorching hot Sinai desert in Egypt. And every step of the way, you’ll discover that history is never the way the books want us to believe…
Peter de Haan gripped the handle of the door that led to the lodge room, as the Freemasons called their meeting place or temple. The open evening at which the lodge’s chairman, Worshipful Master Coen Zoutman, had told visitors about ‘his’ lodge, Loge Ishtar, was drawing to a close. After his presentation, guests and lodge members had gathered at the drinks reception in the function room downstairs while the chairman himself had stayed upstairs in the temple to answer the questions of curious visitors. The event had, after all, been a unique opportunity for outsiders to see inside the Masonic Hall on the Steenschuur canal, a building that was usually shrouded in mystery.
Peter and his girlfriend Fay Spežamor were ready to leave, but Fay didn’t want to go without saying goodbye to Coen. Fay had been a member of Loge Ishtar since its foundation in 2014. As a lodge made up of both male and female Masons, Ishtar was very unusual at a time when Freemasonry was still almost exclusively male and had only recently started to accept female members.
A sudden feeling of dread washed over Peter, making him reluctant to push down on the door handle.
Fay, who was right behind him and not expecting him to stop, bumped into his back. ‘What’s wrong?’ she asked, startled.
‘I don’t know,’ Peter answered. Then, very slowly, he opened the door.
The main lights in the temple had been switched off. A single spotlight blazed in the darkness.
Peter and Fay followed the widening ray of light.
Suddenly, they both held their breath as though they had just jumped into the freezing water of an ice-cold river together.
In front of them, perfectly illuminated on the black and white tiles like a toppled king on a chessboard, lay the body of the Worshipful Master.
Fay let out a scream then immediately clapped her hand over her mouth to stifle it.
Peter ran over to the chairman. His head was surrounded by a pool of blood. On the tiled floor next to him was a gavel, bloody and covered in hair. Sticking out of his chest was a set square that looked like it had been put there with tremendous force. But strangest of all was the pair of compasses that had been stabbed through his clasped hands.
Although he knew it was pointless, Peter pressed the index and middle finger of his right hand to the man’s neck. There was no sign of life.
Peter turned to Fay who stood motionless in the doorway, her eyes wide and her hand still pressed over her mouth. In a daze, he shook his head, then stood up and took his phone out of his pocket to call 112.