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Who is Van der Valk?
Created by british crime novelist Nicolas Freeling, Commissaris Simon “Piet” Van der Valk is a police inspector and his wife, Arlette Van der Valk, a gourmet cook, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Van der Valk is a cynical cop who resolves crime about drugs, sex and murder in the enigmatic city of Amsterdam using human observation and detection. He works with his naïve assistant, Inspecteur Johnny Kroon, and answer to his superior, Hoofd-commissaris Samson, who deals with the political fallout of the cases.
Van der Valk Books in Order:
- Love in Amsterdam a.k.a. Death in Amsterdam – A woman, Elsa, is brutally murdered in her Amsterdam apartment. Her ex-lover, Martin, is seen outside the building around the time of the crime. The witness who saw him? A policeman. It looks like a straightforward case—but police inspector Van der Valk is not convinced. Instead of charging Martin, Van der Valk takes him on a tour: a tour of the investigation, a tour of Martin’s own past and a tour into the darkly obsessive world of Elsa…
- Because of the Cats – Van der Valk has a teenage gang on his hands: they are coming into Amsterdam from out-of-town, and they are remarkably professional. They leave behind a trail of wanton damage, senseless brutality, and rape, and one piece of possible evidence- ‘the cats won’t like it’.
- Gun Before Butter a.k.a. Question of Loyalty – Police Inspector Piet Van der Valk becomes involved in an extraordinary case when he crosses the path of a pretty daughter of a famous dead conductor.
- Double-Barrel – A flurry of anonymous letters and two suicides leads Inspector Van der Valk to a mission in Drente where small-town hysteria may just lead to one of the century’s most wanted criminals.
- Criminal Conversation – Van der Valk is on the case again as a mysterious letter is unearthed alluding to the murder of a man named Cabestan. In the letter, the murderer is named but van der Valk must find out first who this mysterious letter-writer is. What transpires is a tale of deception and adultery.
- The King of the Rainy Country – No one had broken any laws. But a handsome, middle-aged millionaire had disappeared with a naked girl. And Van der Valk was given the job of finding out why.
- Strike Out Where Not Applicable – A seemingly unintended death of a local restaurant owner might not be as accidental as some would like it to appear, and when the suspicions of the Commissaire are aroused, Van der Valk is called in to ask some very awkward questions.
- Tsing-Boum! – When Esther Marx is found savagely murdered, mown down by machine-gun fire in her lacklustre apartment, the trail leads to the wide, shallow valley of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, 1954.
- Over the High Side a.k.a. The Lovely Ladies – The senseless murder of a powerless old man leads Inspector Van der Valk to Belgrave Square, Dublin, and to three lovely women. Amidst an ensuing sexual intrigue, he wrestles with his conscience and the clues as he tries to solve the puzzling mystery.
- Sand Castles – Last book written by Nicolas Freeling, but obviously takes place before A Long Silence. Crime and corruption ooze from the dark corners of small towns and no one understands this more than Police Inspector Van der Valk. But small town isn’t Jan Rijk, a right-wing criminal whose connections with the underworld may be devastating to the lives of small town people. What can Van der Valk do to stop him?
- A Long Silence a.k.a. Auprès de ma Blonde – The famous detective Piet Van der Valk has been kicked upstairs to a quiet desk job to work out his days until retirement. But he is still the maverick of the Amsterdam police force and too restless for paper work alone. A seemingly minor incident — a young man concerned about a gold antique watch — sets him off on a personal investigation that also involves his engaging French wife, Arlette.
Featuring Arlette Van der Valk
- The Widow – Arlette Van der Valk has sets up an advisory agency but things don’t always run smoothly. Not only dealing with her clients’ problems, Arlette must also deal with threats to her life.
- One Damn Thing After Another a.k.a. Arlette – Things keep happening to Arlette in her new role as friend, advisor and investigator for anyone who follows up her advertisement in Strasbourg’s local press. Recently remarried to Arthur Davidson, a stoic at heart, even a bit of a cynic, Arlette copes as best she can. Arthur’s unflagging Englishness comes to the rescue when an importunate German girl is convinced he is her ex-Nazi father and an illegal fur trader is unmasked.