Death of a Hawker is the fourth in the internationally acclaimed Amsterdam Cop series.
About the Author
Janwillem van de Wetering (1931–2008) was born and raised in Rotterdam, but lived most recently in Surry, Maine. He served as a member of the Amsterdam Special Constabulary and was once a Zen Buddhist monk. He is renowned for his detective fiction, including Outsider in Amsterdam, The Corpse on the Dike, The Japanese Corpse, The Maine Massacre, which garnered him the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, and ten other books in the Amsterdam Cops series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is riot time in Amsterdam again. It is summer and there are screaming mobs, flying bricks, howling fanatics, exploding gas grenades, soapstone powder, bleeding faces, and the sirens of ambulances and police vehicles. Esther Rogge rings the police station to say that her brother Abe is dead on the floor and his head is all bloody.The nearest police are on the other side of the riots and it takes Detective Sergeant de Gier and Adjutant Grijpstra nearly an hour to get to her, largely on foot. It appears that the dead man has been killed by a round object studded with spikes that has smashed every bone in his face. But neither his sister not the upstairs lodger heard anything before discovering his body. They of course are the prime suspects but neither appear to be likely murderers.The dead man was known as the King of the Albert Cuyp street market, a dealer in beads, cloth, and haberdashery, and their search for his enemies take de Gier and Grijpstra into a disconcerting, for de Gier at least, world of prostitutes and market stalls. There will be one more death before they finally work out who killed Abe Rogge.This is #4 in van de Wetering's Amsterdam Cops series, and the first that I have read. The investigation is led by a commissaris plagued wuth rheumatics. "A policeman is a hunter" says the commissaris. "We observe, connect, conclude and apprehend", he says, as he tries to instruct both de Gier and Grijpstra in the art of good detection.This is the first of this series that I have read. The style is very different to modern police procedurals, with more in common with Glauser and Simenon. There are little background snippets, like the reasons for the riots, the man who has a heart attack and drops dead in the hospital emergency waiting room, the two thousand guilders that become saturated by a cup of coffee accidentally tipped into the cash box, de Gier's nightmares, Gripjstra's liaison with the prostitute Nellie, and the seething mass of toads on the road near the canal bank, that all add atmosphere.
There is rioting in Amsterdam and the police are out in force. A call comes in that a woman has discovered the dead body of her brother with his head smashed in. Grijpstra and De Gier are dispatched to investigate,but getting to the scene proves difficult,as they have to negotiate the rioting. When they do finally get there they find that not only has the weapon disappeared,but that it must have been something that they describe as a 'good-day' ! (a spiked ball) Their chief,the Commissaris joins them in their hunt for the killer,As with most of the books in this series,it is the by-play between the three policemen and their home-life that is the most interesting part . There is the old Commissaris who suffers from terrible pains of rheumatics bought on by his imprisonment by the Nazis in the War. de Gier,who lives with his cat Oliver. Gripstra who,tries to escape his fat and snoring wife by working at every hour he can.'Death of a Hawker' adds quite a few more facets to what is already known about these three characters and this tale is one of the best in the whole series.