What is it that makes the DeKok, Maigret, Nero Wolfe, Morse, Carella and others so sympathetic? I think it's a nostalgia for a past -- perhaps a past that never existed, except in our minds. Nevertheless, it's real and very appealing. DeKok work out of the old Warmoes police station with the traditional nice chairs for the public, a watch commander who's approachable behind a nice wooden desk as opposed to the new police stations where the police are ensconced behind bullet-proof plastic and you have to speak through holes drilled in the plastic and rarely is there a place to sit. DeKok knows everyone in his district and is known by everyone else. He loves their idiosyncratic behaviors, revels in them perhaps. Maigret is similar even if his methods seem to be plodding , punctuated by moments of clarity and insight.
Called to the scene of a strangulation of a known heroin addict, Inspector DeKok and Vledder, his assistant, find something odd: a mostly used pad of graph paper, but no evidence of any work requiring graphs. They consider it an isolated case until they are called to one of the canals where another strangulation has occurred. Both victims appeared to have kicked the habit. There follows the murder of an old friend, the landlady of the two murdered ex-addicts.
Apparently, Baantjer was a detective inspector with the Amsterdam police which provides considerable credibility. He’s written dozens of DeKok stories and one wonders where he finds the time, but also that many more will be translated. Three stars rather than my usual four as I don’t this this is one of his better stories.
'via Blog this'