Covering Crime

"...there is always one moment that stands out from all the others, one picture that remains when all else has faded."
- Harley Quin (Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Mr. Quin, 1930) 
The plan itself was as flawless as an expertly cut diamond, but my long-time arch nemesis, Father Time, with its clock handles sometimes resembling the drooping mustache or furiously raised eyebrows of Fu-Manchu, foiled the plans I had for posting a fresh review today and I'm afraid this post will reek of filler material. But rest assured, I wanted to post these covers for weeks and this provided me with an opportunity to do so.

It's also a follow up, of sorts, on my previous review, in which I discussed Cor Docter's Koude vrouw in Kralingen (Cold Woman in Kralingen, 1970), a Dutch police procedural written in the style of Anthony Abbot and other members of the Van Dine-Queen School of Detection, and it was another, significant step up from the previous, classically groomed, Dutch-language mysteries I have read. I really have to thank De Spanningsblog, a blog dedicated to promoting modern thrillers, for putting me on the trail of these stories that are literary wasting away in biblioblivion.

In a monthly item, "Plaat van de Maand," Wim van Eyle dusts off the work of writers now long forgotten and their work were a lot closer to their overseas contemporaries than most of writers laboring in the field today – which I sometimes still find hard to fathom. But also beautifully illustrated and enticing book covers was once an art form over here and have selected a few of them. Note that I have read none of these books, but they have been added to my wish-list.

De dood legt in (Death Lays In, 1946) was J. Anthonisz sole detective novel and the only other scrap of information I can give is the books subtitle: een detective-roman van de Hollandsche waterkant (a detective novel from the Dutch waterfront).

De moord in den nachttrein (The Murder on the Night-Train, 1924) was one of the twenty-some mysteries that flowed from the pen of Jules van Dam, a pseudonym of an unidentified writer, but the name of pulp novelist L.A. Steffers has been mentioned.

Anton Beuving was a Jack-of-All-Trades, who dabbled in juvenile fiction, radio plays, pulp stories and penning a slew of mysteries for the lending libraries, of which Het mystery van de zeven skeletten (The Mystery of Seven Skeletons, 1953) was one, but this also makes them next to impossible to find on today’s secondhand book market.

Bob van Oyen's Na afloop moord (Afterwards, Murder, 1953) won a mystery writing contest, organized by publisher Bruna, and followed up this success with a series of detective novels featuring Anton IJsvogel – a pipe smoking army Captain. The cover of Van Oyen’s first book suggests an Ellerian dying message.  

"Boekan Saja," meaning "Not I," was the penname of C.W. Wormser, who used Dutch-Indonesia as a backdrop for three mystery novels and Het geheim van de tempelruïne (The Secret of the Temple Ruin, 1946) is in my possession.

Wie heeft den admiraal gewurgd (Who Strangled the Admiral, 1937) by E.L. Franken. That's all I can tell about this writer or title, but the cover looks absolutely awesome!

Een vliegtuigraadsel (An Airplane Riddle, 1935) was one of the thirteen mysteries published under the byline Hugo Koerts and included here to complete the Christie-King set of mysteries that take place aboard train, ship or airplane. 

Hope to be back soon with a regular review. 


  1. Some beautiful covers here. I would probably have bought the books if I came across them, even though I could never read them. Perhaps just as well - many classic mystery covers are better than the mysteries, I often find.

    1. It's true that these covers, by themselves, make these books highly collectible, but I would also love an opportunity to read them. :)

  2. Fascinating! Thanks for posting. There's so much yet to learn about this genre, it's amazing.