Janwillem van de Wetering Passes Away

I don’t normally read The New York Times but I went to their site today.  One of the headlines announced the passing of this author.  What a shame! 

He’s one of those authors I’ve greatly enjoyed reading over the years but I’m not aware of anyone who knows of him.  That’s why it’s no surprise to me that he passed away on July 4th and no nationwide obituary notice appeared until the 16th. 

For many years my husband worked in bookstores.  Daily access to new books makes it relatively easy to know when new editions or series are released.  Soho Press began releasing their Soho Crime series which features foreign locations and unusual crime solvers.  Chris has a knack for knowing what I’ll like to read, even if I’ve never heard of the author or book, and this series got his attention.  The Grijpstra and de Gier series of detective novels set in Amsterdam was a perfect fit for the Soho Crime series and me. 

I saw the Amsterdam canals in person over 20 years ago.  Having seen them it’s been easy for me to visualize Grijpstra and de Gier on their crime solving adventures.  Not every novel or story has taken place in Amsterdam.  Everyone gets to go on vacation or see relatives every now and then. 

Grijpstra, de Gier and their superior officer are three dimensional characters.  They grow older, get promotions, and find their circumstances can change just by living their lives.  Unconventional problem-solving methods (such as having a jam session or feeding their pets) help them solve the crimes.  A few of the books have been made into movies in other countries. 

A Zen Buddhist, he once lived in a Japanese monastery.  Many of his interests and life experiences (jazz, the environment, police work) found their way into the detective series.  He wrote some children’s books set in Maine that I’ve not read.

Van de Wetering died from cancer complications at the age of 77.  He was born in Rotterdam, lived in several countries and finally settled in Maine about 30 years ago.  He is survived by his wife, daughter, and granddaughter.


  1. I didn’t learn of his death until yesterday. I’m so sad. I know he was working on a last book in the series. I wonder if he left a manuscript behind.

  2. Very likely a manuscript was left in some form but I’ve never read anything on how he works. Probably only those intimate with his work habits would know if it were a complete draft or not.

    I’ve been holding off on reading The Hollow-Eyed Angel and The Perfidous Parrot. There is supposed to be a collection of short stories featuring Grijpstra and de Gier but I haven’t seen it.

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