Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DeKok and the Lost Creator

Just two weeks shy of his 87th birthday, Dutch cop turned crime novelist Albert Cornelis “Appie” Baantjer died this last Sunday, August 29, in The Netherlands. He was the author of a long-running series featuring Amsterdam police inspector Jurriaan DeCock (aka DeKok) and his sidekick, Sergeant Vledder.

A report from Radio Netherlands Worldwide recalls that
For nearly four decades he wrote two books a year about police inspector Juriaan de Cock which sold millions of copies and were translated into numerous languages, including English, German, Polish, Korean and Chinese.

Appie Baantjer was himself an ex-policeman and worked for 28 years at the Warmoesstraat station in Amsterdam’s red-light district. Most of his books take place in that environment.

In the 1990s Dutch television started a series based on his books and entitled Baantjer, which ran for 12 years and significantly increased the size of his audience. The author himself was pleased with the TV version. “The way Piet Römer plays De Cock,” he said, “is exactly right."

After the death of his wife, Marretje, in 2007, Baantjer decided that the 70th De Cock book would be the last. However, he went on to work with co-authors on a new series about Hendrick Zijlstra, De Cock’s nephew.

Literary critics tended to dismiss Baantjer’s novels as “light reading” or worse, but he won several genre prizes and was at one time the best-selling Dutch author.
The first De Cock mystery translated into English was DeKok and Murder on the Menu (1992). Over the last few years, Speck Press has been busily reissuing the De Cock novels, with the latest of those releases being DeKok and the Corpse by Return.

(Hat tip to The Gumshoe Site.)

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