Freeling, Nicholas. Love in Amsterdam. New York: Harper & Row, 1962.
Reason read: Police Week is May 15th – 20th…or something like that.
When we meet first Martin he has already been locked up for two weeks for allegedly murdering his ex-lover, Elsa.
In the first sections of Love in Amsterdam Inspector Van der Valk is an unusual cop with unorthodox methods of investigation. It is up to him to solve the crime and I have to admit, he is the most interesting part of the whole story. His philosophy this: it doesn’t matter whether Martin says or believes he is innocent or if he is in fact guilty as all get out. Inspector Van der Valk is going to let Martin into his confidences and listen to every rambling theory. He is going to allow Martin in on every part of the detailed investigation because the more he and Martin spend together the more the truth will emerge. Sooner or later Inspector Van der Valk will get his man. It is an unusual way to go about solving a crime, allowing his best suspect to be an active part of the investigation, but it works.
The second part of Love in Amsterdam is all about Martin’s past revealing motive for the murder: how he knew the victim, the subsequent relationship they had, and how it all fell apart in the end. Is this section supposed to cast doubt on Martin’s innocence?
The final section is a frantic wrapping up of the case. The murderer is revealed and Inspector Van der Valk gets his man.
Stanley Ellin said it best when he described Love in Amsterdam as having “the sinister, spellbinding perfection of a cobra uncoiling.” That is definitely true for the first part of the story.
Quotes to quote, “Dead bodies are not frightening nor are they communicative” (p 21) and “Professor Comenius watched everything with slightly protuberant, healthy lobster eyes” (p 142).
Author fact: Freeling was British, lived in Holland, and died in France.
Book trivia: Love in Amsterdam was Freeling’s first book. It was made into a television show for the BBC as well.
Nancy said: Pearl said “Freeling’s psychological mysteries…remain a classic of the genre” ( Book Lust p 120).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the obvious chapter called “I Love a Mystery” (p 117).