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The Widow by Nicolas Freeling
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The Widow (1979)

by Nicolas Freeling

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402285,656 (3.25)None
  1. 00
    Arlette by Nicolas Freeling (John_Vaughan)
  2. 00
    Dressing of Diamond by Nicolas Freeling (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Another work by the same author also featuring a skilled woman, a judge in the case of Dressing of Diamond, a police officer's widow in The Widow.
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Authors sometimes tire of their fictional heroes long before their loyal readers – Sherlock Holmes and John Le Carre’s Smiley come to mind – and then struggle to convincingly, if briefly, resurrect them (Holmes) or convert their readership to accepting a new heroic character. To the stunned disbelief of thousands Freeling killed off his adored Dutch ‘copper’ Piet Van der Valk after a dozen best-selling novels and several runs of a highly popular European TV series. He claimed that as he had relocated from Amsterdam and was now living in France he felt he could no longer accurately reflect the Dutch culture, and he introduced an entirely new policeman Henri Castang in a series that was actually more developed and multi-faceted than the Van der Valk series.

Stunned in his turn by his fans reaction – they even stopped publishing his work in a couple of European markets – Freeling, briefly, reintroduced Van der Valk family in the character of Arlette, Piet’s widow whom he had in any case made French in the series, As a compromise Arlette, the widow of the title, begins detective work in Strasbourg, a city set in France but very ‘deutsch’ in culture.

Like other compromises this one, for me, did not satisfy. Redeemed only by Freeling’s talented writing and deliberately obscure plot twists, the novel is not to the quality of either the earlier Van der Valk or the Castang series.
  John_Vaughan | Apr 21, 2011 |
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The widow of a Dutch police officer sets up an unusual counseling service that involves her in a dangerous situation.

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