Cover image for The Amsterdam cops : collected stories
The Amsterdam cops : collected stories
Van de Wetering, Janwillem, 1931-2008.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Soho, [1999]

Physical Description:
254 pages ; 20 cm.
General Note:
Series from jacket.
Format :


Call Number
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Thirteen stories feature Amsterdam police detectives Henk Grijpstra and Rinus de Gier trying to solve mysteries and see that, even if arrests are not made, justice is done.

Author Notes

Janwillem Van de Wetering was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands on February 12, 1931.

He traveled extensively, both geographically and philosophically, his adventures ranging from being a motorcycle gang member to a Buddhist, a real estate salesman in Australia to an exporter in Holland.

He was a police officer in Amsterdam from 1966 to 1975 and his crime novels featuring detectives Grijpstra and De Gier were based on his experiences. He also wrote a trilogy based on the time he spent at a Japanese Zen Buddhist monastery and wrote children's books about a porcupine named Hugh Pine. In 1984, he received the French Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He died on July 4, 2008 at the age of 77.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Amsterdam cops Grijpstra and de Gier bridge the gap between the big-brained European sleuths of the old school, who restored order from chaos through the power of their logic, and the more beleaguered contemporary European crime fighters, who are often overwhelmed by the fundamental orderlessness of the world. Through 14 novels and these 13 stories, now collected for the first time, Grijpstra and de Gier have bantered their way to solving all variety of bizarre crimes, using a combination of human empathy and Poroitian gray matter. In the short form, with less time to develop individual idiosyncrasies, the emphasis falls on deduction, and the pair deliver the goods, as in "Six This, Six That," where Grijpstra makes sense of a Newtonian riddle to solve a cash-register scam turned lethal. Finally, though, it is quirkiness not mental gymnastics that draw us to these stories, with van de Wetering never failing to isolate those moments of sheer human oddity that unlock the emotional lives of his characters. --Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like a novel, a good mystery short story demands well-rounded characters, suspense and a satisfying plot; this collection of 13 tales by the usually outstanding van de Wetering falls short on all three counts. Perhaps it's because the author, a former Zen Buddhist monk, compresses his stories into koan-like vignettes in which, for the most part, the police solve crimes through intuition rather than by analyzing clues. Written during the past 16 years, the stories feature the Amsterdam Murder Brigade's cynical, jowly Detective-Adjutant Henk Grijpstra and his handsome assistant Detective-Sergeant Rinus de Gier. In several storiesÄ"Six This, Six That," "There Goes Ravelaar," "Heron Island," "The Sergeant's Cat" and "Houseful of Mussels"Äthe police make arrests based on unexplained assumptions. Maybe satori, the sudden enlightenment of Zen philosophy, is at work, but the result will leave readers puzzled. In other casesÄ"The Deadly Egg," "Letter Present," "Hup Three" and "The Bongo Bungler"Äthe police don't have enough evidence to arrest the suspects, but the bad guys still get their comeuppance, either through accident or suicide. A sense of loss pervades some stories, like "The Machine Gun and the Mannequin," while in others, only Grijpstra's and de Gier's silly banter relieves the banality of their work. Van de Wetering's novels (The Perfidious Parrot, etc.) are known for their witty plots and eccentric characters; his books on Zen are quirky and engaging. Unfortunately, not even one hand can clap for these disappointing tales. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

The Deadly Eggp. 1
Six This, Six Thatp. 22
The Sergeant's Catp. 41
There Goes Ravelaarp. 63
The Letter in the Peppermint Jarp. 81
Heron Islandp. 112
Letter Presentp. 122
Houseful of Musselsp. 141
Holiday Patrolp. 160
Sure, Blue, and Dead, Toop. 181
Hup Threep. 198
The Machine Gun and the Mannequinp. 218
The Bongo Bunglerp. 229