Hidden Gems: Books Unjustly Dusty #7


The wildly popular series of books by Stieg Larsson reminded me of other mystery series set in foreign lands.

Janwillem van de Wetering wrote a series of 14 books with the characters Grijpstra and de Gier who are both detectives and amateur musicians in Amsterdam. Grijpstra is a family man and de Gier is not (although he does love his cat) and they both envy the other's situation. The first book in the series, Outsider in Amsterdam, chronicles the murder of a spiritual advisor (van de Wetering was a Buddhist) along with drug trafficking in 1970s Amsterdam.

The Corpse on the Dike takes the two detectives deep into the Dutch Underworld to solve the murder of a man no one seems to know.

Van de Wetering is a good writer who ably weaves an intricate plot while making the reader care about the quirky detectives. He was awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, the most prestigious award for crime and detective fiction in France in 1984.


Aha! van de Wetering's bumbling, terribly honest account of his time at a Zen monastery is full of laughs and heartwarming moments. It'll let down someone looking for an Answer To Something Big, but it'll fulfill totally those who read it in search of proof that all life, everywhere, is full of silliness, tribulation, and, yes, inflammation of one's rear. You can order "The Empty Mirror" from MeL.