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The King of the Rainy Country by Nicolas…
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The King of the Rainy Country (1966)

by Nicolas Freeling

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A very different type of detective novel, I enjoyed the philosophising and somewhat negative attitude of the main character. I am slowly working my way through all the Van der Valk stories. ( )
  Cat-Lib | Jul 3, 2016 |
I had read this at least once about 1977, but today I picked it up to catalog it and just got swept away by it --read the whole book. With that kind of quality, I should give it five stars, but I must admit I found the ending unsatisfying. The heir of a very rich man vanishes; it turns out he has run off with a teenage girl from the equivalent of Mardi Gras in Koln. Van der Valk is sent after him, joined intermittently by the man's wife. ( )
  antiquary | Jan 25, 2015 |
Synopsis/blurb......
This was the end of the story that had started 'Once upon a time, in a rainy country, there was a king...' The end had not happened in a rainy country, but on a bone-dry Spanish hillside, three hundred metres from where Van der Valk had left a lot of blood, some splintered bone, a few fragments of gut, and a ten-seventy-five Mauser rifle bullet.
No one had broken any laws. But a handsome, middle-aged millionaire had disappeared with a naked girl. And Van der Valk was given the job of finding out why.
This was my first (and probably last) taste of this author. The King of the Rainy Season is Freeling’s 6th mystery in his Inspector Van der Valk series, which ran to 13 overall. I can dimly recall the TV series from the 70’s starring Barry Foster as the lead character. Foster (as a boring aside) seemed vaguely familiar to me when recently watching a Hitchcock film Frenzy. After googling him, the penny dropped in respect of his Van der Valk role.
Freeling was the recipient of the Edgar Award in 1967 for this book. One of my mini-reading challenges for myself is a monthly read of an Award winning book, so on that basis I hooked up with King of the Rainy Country.
My overall verdict..........shortish at 157 pages long but not a quick read; interesting and intelligent if a bit too pedestrian for my liking. Van der Valk is conscientious, probing and curious, diligent in his approach to his challenge and not easily diverted from his task despite temptation. The puzzle or raison d’être for Jean-Claude Marschal’s disappearing act and the limitations placed on his enquiry, added to the sense of mystery and the suspense does build as our trusty inspector comes closer to solving the puzzle.
I enjoyed the support cast of police characters and the respect and cooperation Van der Valk received from his German and French counterparts added to my enjoyment. At times we seemed to be on a road trip through Europe in pursuit of Marschal, but it was more at a pace akin to Driving Miss Daisy than Fast and Furious.
A bit of a change from my usual read and satisfying if not quite setting off the buzzer labelled “super, fantastic, great!”
3 from 5
I obtained my copy by swapping with another member on the Readitswapit website.

( )
  col2910 | Apr 17, 2014 |
Synopsis/blurb......
This was the end of the story that had started 'Once upon a time, in a rainy country, there was a king...' The end had not happened in a rainy country, but on a bone-dry Spanish hillside, three hundred metres from where Van der Valk had left a lot of blood, some splintered bone, a few fragments of gut, and a ten-seventy-five Mauser rifle bullet.
No one had broken any laws. But a handsome, middle-aged millionaire had disappeared with a naked girl. And Van der Valk was given the job of finding out why.
This was my first (and probably last) taste of this author. The King of the Rainy Season is Freeling’s 6th mystery in his Inspector Van der Valk series, which ran to 13 overall. I can dimly recall the TV series from the 70’s starring Barry Foster as the lead character. Foster (as a boring aside) seemed vaguely familiar to me when recently watching a Hitchcock film Frenzy. After googling him, the penny dropped in respect of his Van der Valk role.
Freeling was the recipient of the Edgar Award in 1967 for this book. One of my mini-reading challenges for myself is a monthly read of an Award winning book, so on that basis I hooked up with King of the Rainy Country.
My overall verdict..........shortish at 157 pages long but not a quick read; interesting and intelligent if a bit too pedestrian for my liking. Van der Valk is conscientious, probing and curious, diligent in his approach to his challenge and not easily diverted from his task despite temptation. The puzzle or raison d’être for Jean-Claude Marschal’s disappearing act and the limitations placed on his enquiry, added to the sense of mystery and the suspense does build as our trusty inspector comes closer to solving the puzzle.
I enjoyed the support cast of police characters and the respect and cooperation Van der Valk received from his German and French counterparts added to my enjoyment. At times we seemed to be on a road trip through Europe in pursuit of Marschal, but it was more at a pace akin to Driving Miss Daisy than Fast and Furious.
A bit of a change from my usual read and satisfying if not quite setting off the buzzer labelled “super, fantastic, great!”
3 from 5
I obtained my copy by swapping with another member on the Readitswapit website. ( )
  col2910 | Sep 28, 2013 |
Nicolas Freeling's THE KING OF A RAINY COUNTRY was the 1967 Edgar winner for Best Novel. I was already reading a lot of mysteries in 1966, and Freeling's name was familiar to me from library shelves, but for some reason I'd never picked one up. In this case, I think I will need to read at least one more of the Van der Valk books before I can figure out exactly what I think! So far, 6 out of 14 Edgar winners have been series books, if you count Ed Lacy's ROOM TO SWING (he wrote a sequel many years later, but at the time it wasn't a series). I'm also not sure whether THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM was the first of the Quiller series. Anyway, the standard for a series book becoming a Best Novel winner seems to require something special. THE KING OF A RAINY COUNTRY -- well, a title out of Baudelaire should tip you off right away that this is going to be, as my spouse said, "weird." It's full of philosophy and philosophizing (and stereotyping of the various European nationalities). For me, it was a bit too talky, but still good enough to make me want to check out another of the Van der Valk books to compare with it. For what it's worth, I've never been a big Maigret fan either, and some of the jacket blurbs compared Van der Valk to Maigret. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140028536, Paperback)

A Van der Valk Thriller - On a parched Spanish hillside, Van der Valk spills blood and splinters bone. A handsome millionaire is missing. A naked girl has disappeared with him. Van der Valk has the arduous task of finding out why and where they are. And some people would shoot him for trying.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:36 -0400)

The end had not happened in a rainy country, but on a bone-dry Spanish hillside, 300 metres from where Van der Valk had left a lot of blood, some splintered bone, a few fragments of gut, and a ten-seventy-five Mauser rifle bullet. No one had broken any laws. But a handsome, middle-aged millionaire had disappeared with a naked girl. And Van der Valk was given the job of finding out why.… (more)

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