We were sorry to hear from Soho Crime last week that Janwillem van de Wetering, author of the Grijpstra and Gier mysteries, had passed away near his home in Maine. The Dutch-born author (Rotterdam, 1931) not only created a memorable investigative team, but translated his mysteries himself, writing them first in Dutch, then in English. This unusual arrangement allowed the actual texts to vary widely from each other, something an independent translator might not feel the freedom to do.
Van de Wetering arrived in Maine in 1975, to link with a Zen Buddhist community there; it folded, but he stayed. His earlier experiences with this spiritual discipline are retold in his first book (THE EMPTY MIRROR: EXPERIENCES IN A JAPANESE ZEN MONASTERY) and at least two others -- they make good reading, frank and descriptive and unflinchingly clear-sighted. Then he mined his own police experience for his mysteries.
I like the New York Times obituary, which says that his interests also included motorcycles and jazz -- good reasons for settling on this side of the Atlantic!
I won't try to review his work just now, but here's a good listing of the mysteries. Summer is a delicious season for re-reading an entire series, isn't it?
Note that in 1984, van de Wetering won the French Grand Prix de Littérature Policiere for THE MAINE MASSACRE, which placed his police team in Maine!
Farewell to one of the most distinctive voices of the police procedural scene.
Grijpstra and de Gier novels
* Outsider in Amsterdam, 1975
* Tumbleweed, 1976
* The Corpse on the Dike, 1976
* Death of a Hawker, 1977
* The Japanese Corpse, 1977
* The Blond Baboon, 1978
* The Maine Massacre, 1979
* The Mind-Murders, 1981
* The Streetbird, 1983
* The Rattle-Rat, 1985
* Hard Rain, 1986
* Just A Corpse at Twilight, 1994
* The Hollow-Eyed Angel, 1996
* The Perfidious Parrot, 1997
* The Amsterdam Cops: Collected Stories, 1999 (anthology)
o replaces the anthology The Sergeant's Cat and Other Stories
SPECIAL NEWS: Soho Press also announced that the press will reissue all of van de Wetering's Soho Crime novels in paperback, starting this fall. What a nice salute to this author's work.