3 October 2012

Review: MURDER BY INSTALLMENT, A.C. Baantjer

  • originally published in Dutch 1985, De Cock en moord op termijn
  • translated from Dutch into English in 2007 by H.G. Smittenauer and published by Speck Press
  • ISBN 978-1-933108-07-0
  • 189 pages
  • #24 in the De Cock series
  • source: my public library
Synopsis (publisher)

Although at first it seemed to be a case for the narcotics division, this latest crime soon evolves into a series of sinister and almost impossible murders.

Never before have inspectors DeKok and his partner Vledder been so involved in a case whereby murder, drug smuggling, and child prostitution are almost daily occurrences.

Blackmail enters the picture and bodies continue to be found. DeKok even finds himself allowing one of the suspects in the serial crimes to go free.

To darken the days a bit more, in the past a single murder used to dominate the front pages of the newspapers for weeks, but now they get maybe four or six lines on page fourteen, third column, near the bottom. Death has become commonplace in the news, but never for DeKok.

My Take

Earlier last month I thoroughly enjoyed DEKOK AND THE DEAD HARLEQUIN and was delighted to find my library could offer some more.

These stories feel like a cross between Maigret and Agatha Christie, although the publisher tells us that Baantjer is known as the "Dutch Conan Doyle".

The first murder in this story is a puzzle. The weapon is eventually identified and then a second, almost identical murder occurs. When the third happens DeKok knows enough to predict who the fourth will be.  But who is the murderer?

In a way these are old fashioned police procedurals, with a few red herrings, and just enough clues to keep the reader guessing.  As with DEKOK AND THE DEAD HARLEQUIN the final explanations occur around the tea table at DeKok's apartment with Mrs DeKok present too.

My rating: 4.5

List of the titles published by Speck Press - see also here for their Amazon listing

This week this is also my contribution to  Friday's Forgotten Books being hosted by Todd Mason at Sweet Freedom.

2 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Oh, yes, I do remember your review of the first in this series. It really sounds like a series I must read. I just haven't yet :-(.

John said...

This is really worth reading, it has too much details in it and yet it is so simple to understand.

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