cover image Dekok and the Brothers of the Easy Death

Dekok and the Brothers of the Easy Death

Albert Cornelis Baantjer. Intercontinental Publishing, $7.95 (196pp) ISBN 978-1-881164-13-5

The 14th title in the Dutch DeKok series to be published in the U.S. features veteran detective-inspector DeKok (whom his creator dubs ``the gray sleuth''), who stumbles his way to the solution of his case while ``rippling his eyebrows in an uncanny manner.'' At his side is eager young Vledder, whose faith in science and technical know-how is never as effective as DeKok's intuition. DeKok fans will be on familiar territory here as two corpses, their fingers entwined, are fished out of Amsterdam's Emperors Canal. DeKok cannot believe it is a case of suicide by drowning, and another double drowning confirms his hunch. DeKok finds a common thread, which he doggedly follows to a logical conclusion. Perhaps the most appealing element of Baantjer's book is its locale: the city of Amsterdam, especially the old section with its canals and narrow streets. Least successful is the writing, at least as translated here, which is saddled with lines like ``From the center depended the enormous cloud of a sparkling crystal chandelier.'' Characterization is limited, relying on the annoying repetition of phrases like ``She moved her hands above her head in a gesture of bewilderment,'' ``she made an inviting gesture,'' ``she made a repentant gesture,'' ``she made a shy gesture'' and so on. This routine offering is unlikely to win the gray guy any new fans. (Feb.)