The Dutchman

Maan Meyers, Author
Maan Meyers, Author Doubleday Books $18.5 (306p) ISBN 978-0-385-42603-9
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-56285-9
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-934609-00-2
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The first of a projected historical crime series by the husband-and-wife team of Ma rtin Myers (the Patrick Hardy series) and An nette Myers (the Smith and Wetzon mysteries) delivers interesting history but falters as fiction. In 1664 in the trading post of New Amsterdam, the slow-witted, drunken Schout (i.e., sheriff), Pieter Tonneman, must solve the mystery of a friend's death before the British invade as threatened. In a wooden plot pegged on such absurdities as a dog's delivering an essential clue, the central characters are made to represent such qualities as anger, constancy and stubbornness. The Myers do best in depicting the settlement's animated street life--pigs rooting in the garbage on the Broad Way; the frantic activity after a fire--in a way that makes it seem at once centuries' removed and immediately familiar. Their many historical asides, although often intriguing, slow the tale's pace, while shopworn narrative devices and flat, predictable characters diminish the story's dramatic impact. (Nov.)
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