Message in a Bottle

"Everything has a beginning and an end. Life is just a cycle of starts and stops. There are ends we don't desire, but they're inevitable, we have to face them. It's what being human is all about."
- Jet Black (Cowboy Bebop)

First of all, I want to beg your forgiveness for indulging, three times in the span of four weeks, in those pesky, untranslated detective stories, but Cor Docter has captured my fascination and this review will round out the trilogy of books featuring Commissioner Daan Vissering – a kind and intelligent policeman. Even more good news, I have in my possession a little known, disregarded locked room mystery from the 1930s and it's up next, but for the time being, bear with me as I babble about one more of these books.  

Now that I have read all three volumes in this series, I understand what Docter set-out to do with them and it's an effort that I very much appreciate: Droeve poedel in Delfshaven (Melancholic Poodle in Delfshaven, 1970) was a Grand Whodunit in the tradition of Agatha Christie, Koude vrouw in Kralingen (Cold Woman in Kralingen, 1970) re-opened John Dickson Carr's beloved Locked Room Mystery for business and Rein geheim op rijksweg 13 (Pure Secrecy on Highway 13, 1971) mimics the signature trademark of Ellery Queen, the Dying Message. However, as mentioned before in these reviews, they're hardly throwbacks, but more of an overhaul that resettles them in the modern world of the early 1970s – populated with mostly working and lower class people who are caught in the meshes of intrigue.

Highway 13 was one of the busiest highways of the country and there’s always someone traveling down that road, no matter what hour of the day it is, which makes the plan of two petty thieves, Sander Wils and Peter Ruivenvoorde, all the more audacious. They want to strip a delivery van, abandoned on the emergency lane, of its valuable parts, but what they find in the back of the car throws a spoke in their wheels: slumped between scattered protest signs there’s the body of a man, hit over the head, and one hand resting in an open canister of red paint. On the inside of the van the dying man had scrawled "16NK2-" and it’s definitely a sign that Vissering's plan for Charles Dickens-style Christmas is in jeopardy. The scene of the crime also provided me with the post title, because the stranded van, containing the dead man's message, reminded me of a bottle that had just drifted on shore after an exhausting journey – with the lights and sound of passing cars standing in for the murmur of the sea and a cone of light from a nearby lighthouse. I thought it was an interesting image.

The thorough investigation of Vissering and his men uncover a number of plot threads that run in various directions, but still appear to be connected to the body in the van. There are the signs protesting the pollution of the air with garish slogans and this turns up a second death, a suicide of the wife of one of the members of a protest group, and a glass of diluted bleach is one of the key clues in this little side puzzle. You need a piece of trivial, household knowledge from this particular period to completely solve it, but it's actually quite clever and could've easily been used to give a satisfying explanation to a locked room scenario that turns out to be nothing more than a simple suicide. Docter only had to let Ella van der Klup jump from an open window inside her locked apartment, instead from the gallery outside, with her husband snoozing in the other room.

Vissering also has to tangle with "Boere-Bram," a Lombard, of sorts, of scrap metal and junk, who has a link with the murdered man, who turns out to be the straight up brother of a convicted criminal who has stashed away his loot, hundred fifty thousand guilders, as a nest egg for when he gets out – which is sooner than everyone expected! There’s also an old, mysterious man, named Siem Bijl, bumping into Vissering wherever the investigation takes him and a German bayonet is also thrust into the case. As to be expected by now, Docter pulls off a conclusion as classical as it's satisfying. It's like the back blurb said, "This time no Carter Dickson effects, but 'keys' that are reminiscent of the best plots of Ellery Queen, Peter Quentin (sic) or the immortal Dorothy Sayers.”

Lastly, I should mention that Pure Secrecy is also very strong in its commentary on modern society and its condemnation of the annexation of Overschie by Rotterdam – polluted and defaced in the process. Highway 13 was carved right through it and "housing barracks" (i.e. flats) tore the old atmosphere and community asunder. Docter already warned and apologized in his introduction that his description of the then present-day Overschie would be a very colored one – because the old Overschie was very dear to his heart.

Docter's detective novels may be steeped in old traditions, but he made a valiant effort at updating them to modern times and, more often than not, succeeded in doing so and this  earned himself a place among the ranks of post-GAD writers who proved the old adage that a classic never goes out of style.


Bifurcated Hearts

"Everywhere, as he knew, there were husbands and lovers who cherished the scars of their boyhood and who lived like dreamers in a world of reality."
- Dr. Eustace Hailey (The Red Scar, 1928)

Robert McNair Wilson, a Scottish physician, wrote a score of mystery novels, under the assumed name of "Anthony Wynne," during the first half of the twentieth century and his series detective, Dr. Eustace Hailey, preferred Occam's Razor over a lancet to dissect a miracle problem.

Dr. Hailey is a specialist on the human mind, who constantly plunders his snuffbox and acts as an unofficial consultant when a case is taking on all the appearances of a mystifying, storybook crime – investigated and solved by the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown. Over a dozen of these recorded cases involves murderers who defied more than just man made laws as they left their victims behind the sturdy doors of locked rooms or struck them down in front of witnesses, while appearing to be completely invisible! Naturally, this penchant for locked rooms attracted my attention and last year I had an opportunity to sample two of his novels, The Silver Scale Mystery (1931) and The Green Knife (1932), and expected The Red Scar (1928) to be more of the same, but this one can hardly be compared, in any shape or form, to the previous entries I have read.

For one thing, The Red Scar hardly qualifies as a locked room mystery and the impossible situation described in Robert Adey's Locked Room Murders and Other Impossible Crimes (1991) is a semi-impossible at best and not even the focus of the plot. Heck, the only references to locked doors and impenetrable walls were allusions to a prison facility. But even more interesting was that it read like a masculine take on Agatha Christie's Eternal Triangle and more. It riffs on an old cliché, pulls a least likely suspect and a serious attempt is made at a surprise twist, but an alert and knowledgeable reader can anticipate a few of the surprises.

The plot of The Red Scar revolves around a small cluster of people, who, in turn, revolve around Raoul Featherstone – a painter with an insatiable appetite for women. The other players include the sculptor Alaistar Diarmid, his cousin Phyllis and her husband, Major Lionel Leyland, and the beautiful Echo Wildermere. You guessed it, both women are involved with Raoul, much to the chagrin of both gentlemen, and before long a tragedy unfolds in the artist's studio and the aftermath muddles the water considerably. Raoul is mortally wounded with a knife, Lionel is beaten up and Echo's clothes are torn and drenched in blood. Raoul’s body disappears under Alistair’s nose, when he attempts to cover-up the crime in order to protect Echo. A tangled mess that Hailey has to unsnarl, however, keeping his head is more of a trial than keeping it cool.

There's a decidedly hardboiled slate to this story with a lot a physical altercations and Dr. Hailey gets the brunt of it, but that's all I can tell without spoiling any of the fun.

Anyway, Raoul's charred remains are eventually retrieved from a burned out car, halfway through the story, and two people are charged and placed in the dock to answer for a murder they might not have committed. Dr. Hailey is convinced that there's more to the case and continues his investigation as well as a race against the clock, which had a good touch of suspense. I have to admit, though, that I was skeptical at first and feared one of his overly melodramatic finals, but he efficiently tied everything together with a sobering explanation. In my review of The Green Knife, I mentioned that Wynne read like a writer who arrived on the scene thirty to forty years too late, but here it felt like he was a few years ahead of time – looking back on the detective stories from the past twenty years or so. At least, that’s the impression I got from the book and the solution. Minus the satire, of course.

I have to mention one downside and that’s fluctuating quality of the writing, but then again, that might just have been my fractured reading of the book. All in all, this just might be a more accomplished detective story than The Silver Scale Mystery, in spite of lacking an ingenious contrived locked room trick, and a better novel overall than you would expect from a writer often criticized for his overwrought writing and cardboard characters.


The Chesterton-Effect

"You had those typical neighborhood murder cases, with the remarkable intimacy of a John Dickson Carr story or Agatha Christie's train murder... This seemed such a closed ward murder, bound to the invisible walls of the rayon."
- Commissioner Daan Vissering (Droeve poedel in Delfshaven, 1970)
Earlier this month, I reviewed Koude vrouw in Kralingen (Cold Woman in Kralingen, 1970) by Cor Docter, a pulp writer who had a trilogy of full-fledged detective novels to his credit that merged the style of the Dutch topographical police story with the type of fantastic plots usually found in the most imaginative works of John Dickson Carr and Ellery Queen, and flung in an seemingly impossible situation for good measure. Needless to say, I was intrigued, even if some parts of the solution gave pause for thought, and now I feel even more drawn to his work after finishing Droeve poedel in Delfshaven (Melancholic Poodle in Delfshaven, 1970).

Melancholic Poodle in Delfshaven opens with the muffled howls of a dog, muzzle smeared with blood and a trail of identical substance leading to the doorsteps of a house abandoned by its owner. Commissioner Daan Vissering is holding the leash of the investigation and he and his team begin to sniff around for clues.

The missing homeowner is one Gerrit Vledser, a shady moneylender, who, according to the evidence, was hit over the head with the dog’s food bowl – before he was either taken away or fled from his attacker(s). They find a hand drawn map, with markings, and Vissering drags information from the neighbor that includes shreds of a heated conversation, the time Vledser may have been hit and two young men who associated with him. More than enough to go on, but other problems are emerging that ask for the commissioner's attention.

Exploding fireworks cloak the statue of Admiral Piet Hein in smoke, noise and confusion. Somewhere else, an exploding smoke bomb has the same effect. Senseless pranks or is there a darker meaning? Vissering has his own thoughts about it and suspects a connection, which is confirmed when the young men turn up and knock one of his men, Grijphand, into the hospital. And before long, Vledser turns up again. Behind the statue of Van 't Hoff. His head caved in... again!

Scene of the Crime: Van 't Hoff statue

Melancholic Poodle progresses in the same, absolutely delightful, way as Cold Woman, thickening the plot with each succeeding chapter, however, I found this to be less of a throwback than the other one – which dribbed with the influences from Anthony Abbot, John Dickson Carr and S.S. van Dine. Not that I have any complaints about that, but the publisher advertised this series as classic detective stories reinvented and this book definitely felt like it delivered on that promise. 

There was, for one, more emphasize on characters, or, at least, a series of interesting character portraits. One of them told the story of one of those many, and often forgotten, tragedies from the war, but even more interesting was the back story of Grijphand. Docter only needed a few pages to make you understand what made that man tick instead of drawing those events from his youth out over a couple of hundred pages. It was just a pleasant balance between plot and character. Although, there may have been a tad bit more plot than character.

The plot unfolds at a slow, methodical pace, peppered with a suspenseful wrap-up of one of their problems, before the murderer is confronted in a classic denouement and receives a lecture from Vissering on the Chesterton-effect – which is nothing short of brilliant. Yes. The identity of the murderer is a revelation in the best GAD tradition, but with a decidedly modern touch. 

Docter showed a skillful hand at tying all the plot threads together and make it logically click on every layer of the story. All in all, a very fun and clever detective story to read.   


The Unpleasantness at the Gambit Club

"A player surprised is half beaten."
- Proverb.
In previous postings dealing with that duet of gumshoes, the armchair bound Nero Wolfe and the quick-witted Archie Goodwin, I explained that my enjoyment of this series does not come from ingeniously contrived plots, which they seldom sport, but from the characters and spending a few hours in their company. However, it's always a treat, served as one of Fritz's opulent banquets, when Rex Stout put some thought and effort into his intrigues – making Gambit (1962) a noteworthy entry in the late-period corpus.

When Gambit opens, we find Nero Wolfe tearing the pages from a copy of a 3rd edition of Webster's dictionary, deeming it as "intolerably offensive," as Archie Goodwin ushers a prospective client into the office. Sally Blount has $22.000 in cash on her and wants Wolfe to prove her father innocent of the murder of Paul Jerin, a chess maven who was poisoned at the Gambit Club under peculiar circumstances. Paul Jerin was taking on twelve opponents, at once, under "blindfold" conditions, while alone in a room, separated from the other players, with only messengers moving between them to whisper the moves.

The twelve-man blindfold match was Matthew Blount's idea, who wanted to publicly humiliate Jerin and concocted a scheme, however, when Jerin is taking ill mid-match and dies in the hospital from arsenic poison – Blount is arrested as his murderer. After all, it was Blount who was kind enough to supply Jerin with his customary cup of hot chocolate, which appears to have been the container for the poison, but Sally refuses to believe that her father's plans had included murder and has very little faith in his attorney, Dan Kalmus, who's apparently in love with her mother. Wolfe and Goodwin have their work cut out for them!

I have to admit that the who-and howdunit angles weren't particular difficult to solve and most of their work consisted of prying loose a piece of information from Blount and Kalmus, which merely confirms a suspicion Wolfe and his readers have been harboring all along, but it's hard not to notice the effort Stout put into constructing this plot. I appreciate that, especially from this writer, and that's not something that can be said of all his books from this period. Even at gun point, I would be unable to supply even a synopsis of The Final Deduction (1961) or Please, Pass the Guilt (1973), and I don't think I have read them that long before I began blogging.

But how Wolfe wraps up this case does not only take a slice of the cake, but the whole thing and you know he has the appetite for it! I also wanted to glare daggers at the writing team who worked on the splendid A&E TV-series for not considering this book! Wolfe's gambit tears a page (another sacrilege against the printed word between the covers of this novel) from the playbook he used in The Doorbell Rang (1965) with the adaptation being even better and the last twenty-or-so minutes, in which Wolfe springs his trap, with one favorite scene following another favorite scene, easily makes it one of my all time favorite episodes from any detective series.

Wolfe mentioned in this last portion of the story that books could be written on the varieties of conduct of men in a pickle. If he even wants  to read such a book, I can recommend him Gambit by Rex Stout. 

I also reviewed: 
Gambit (1962)


Here's to the Night

"Those who plot the destruction of others often fall themselves."
- Phaedrus.
I once read either an article or a review, which floated somewhere on the web, concerning historical mysteries and it mentioned in passing that ancient Rome, as a backdrop for these tales, has become one of the most well-trodden periods in history and that made a lot of sense – remembering their penchant for cloak-and-dagger politics and poisonous intrigues. 

Take Emperor Nero, the John Rhode of the Ancient World, who ordered the construction of a particular ingenious death trap, a collapsible boat, to kill his mother Agrippina. After having failed to take his mother out, Nero simply dispatches a band of assassins and according to one of the stories, Agrippina ordered the mercenaries to bury a dagger in her womb. The stories practically write themselves!

Paul Doherty's The Queen of the Night (2006) takes place in August, 314 AD, when Emperor Constantine and his mother, Empress Helena, took the western Roman empire from Emperor Maxentius and plan to snatch away the eastern territories from Emperor Licinius, but first they have to quench the flames of unrest that are licking at the homes of Rome’s powerful elite.

One part has to look on, helplessly, as their children are whisked away and held to ransom, while veterans of a small band of Constantine's army, lauded for trapping and cutting down a group of Picts, are brutally murdered and mutilated, one after another, according to the practices of their old enemies. Empress Helena puts Claudia, a secret agent, on the case, scouring for clues like a mouse scurrying for bits of food, but a third problem, much closer to home, also demands her attention. Her uncle Polybius disinterred the corpse of a perfectly preserved girl from his garden and it's assumed to be the remains of a Christian martyr.

More than enough twisted threads for a good yarn, however, The Queen of the Night, plot-wise, turned out to be one of the least challenging and unoriginal historical mysteries I have read from Doherty.

The perfectly preserved remains of the young woman hardly poses a challenge for any modern reader, especially ones specialized in detective stories, and eventually peters out. Just as easy is figuring out who masterminded the kidnapping and the only interesting part was how the strand of the army killings intertwined with the kidnappings. I really got the idea that Doherty half-assed the plot here, taking bits and pieces from his other novels, and resettled them in Imperial Rome – like the murdered veterans from The Slayers of Seth (2001).

The Queen of the Night is as readable as any of Doherty's other, and more successful, efforts, but the plot shows that he either had an off-day or feels more at home in the castle strewn landscapes of mediaeval England or the sun blasted deserts of ancient Egypt. For completists only.  

I think that this was one of shortest reviews I have ever done.

A list of all the Paul Doherty novels reviewed on this blog:

The Queen of the Night (2006) 
The Mysterium (2010)


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. 


The Key Problem

"Death hath so many doors to let out life."
- Beaumont-Fletcher.
Cor Docter (1925-2006) was a Dutch pulp writer whose books, under such bylines as "Francis Hobard" and "Salem Pinto," were in high-demand throughout the 1950-and 60s and became one of the household names that kept neighborhood bookshops and district libraries in business. He also penned an authoritative work entitled Grossiers in moord en doodslag: veelschrijvers uit Nederland en Vlaanderen (Wholesalers in Homicide: Writers from Holland and Flanders, 1997) and published three, classically-styled, detective novels under his own name and these were rocketed to the top of my wish list after stumbling across information that put them in the same category as Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr – which is no exaggeration as I have just finished reading Koude vrouw in Kralingen (Cold Woman in Kralingen, 1970).

I have to start of by saying that Cor Docter struck me as a very knowledgeable man, who both loved and respected his craft. The introduction, of a single page, is a testament to this and has a very keen observation on somewhat of a Dutch specialty, the topographical police story.
"...a topographical detective novel shouldn’t just spew pages of information on a particular region, but turn that knowledge into an essential part of the story."
Docter followed his own advice, for the most part, making a decent amount of the history of Kralingen relevant to the plot and even the bits that weren't were, nonetheless, interesting for anyone even remotely interested in history. It also gave the book character.

Not a Dell Mapback
Cold Woman in Kralingen opens when a surging storm begins tugging the trees and gardener Harm Jispen is letting out Aart van der Linzen, a student he has been assisting with his thesis by allowing to be recorded while telling old folktales in the dialect of Boertange, before fortifying the house and planting himself in front of the television. But the ominous sound of shattering glass lures him from his safe home to inspect his greenhouses and walks straight into the blade of a knife. Enter Commissioner Daan Vissering (a sober minded man from the province of Friesland) and his team of policemen, who go over the scene of the crime with a fine-tooth comb and diligently hunt down leads as they speculate and theorize about every facet of the case. Including the tantalizing problem of why Jispen needed forty eggs, every week!

This makes Docter a lot closer to Anthony Abbot, author of a number of mysteries featuring Commissioner Thatcher Colt of Centre Street, and other members of the Van Dine-Queen School than to John Dickson Carr, who was an unapologetic romanticist. However, the link is not entirely unjustified, because Carr was the master of the locked room mystery and this one has just such a problem – and it gave me quite a turn in spite of being handled in a sober manner. No such nonsense about ghosts and goblins, but sometimes their absence can be even more unnerving!

Roughly fifty pages into the story, we switch from the murder of Harm Jispen to one of the weekly meetings of Kostbaar Kralingen (Precious Kralingen), a shadowy society who apparently gather to appreciate the history of Kralingen, but we immediately learn that it's a front and the lectures are just copied texts being read with nobody really paying any attention to what is being said – the speaker least of all. I also loved how the story transitioned with the society members reading about Jispen's murder in the newspaper. This makes for a pleasing, mystifying read that, uhm, thickens the plot, but the best part is yet to come. 

Cor Docter, "Prince of the Lending Libraries"

The spider in this web, Magda Quarz, uncharacteristically, disappears from the meeting and apparently locked herself up in the bedroom. There's light coming from the crack underneath the door, but there's nothing that can be seen through the vacant keyhole and then it happens: when they decide to look under the door someone, from within the room, forcefully throws the key under the door into the hallway. Goosebumps! They immediately rush the room, but the only person in the room is Magda - sitting in front of the dressing mirror, dead as a doornail, with the markings of strangulation on her throat.

Shocked and wary, the members of Precious Kralingen decide to keep the police out of it, for the time being, and shovel the blame on her 17-year-old son, Harold, who's flogged and driven out of a second-story window. Convinced that the confession they have beaten out of Harold will keep the police out of there business, they call them in and they send Vissering and his men. You guessed it; he isn't fooled, not in the least, especially after finding another clue that consists of forty eggs. A cat-and-mouse game ensues, in which Vissering has to break down the iron-clad resolve of an entire group, link by link, and the way he went about it reminded me a bit of Columbo. You have to understand that Vissering comes from the province and thus not stand, intellectually, in high regard with most of the members of this society. A mistake that was the folly of many murderers who crossed swords with Columbo. When will they ever learn not to underestimate a slouching prise de fer!

Vissering eventually learns what happened in that hallway and figures out how the trick was done, but they show their traces of his past as a pulp writer and I have my reservations about it, however, it was completely original and entirely fair. I have to give Docter props for keeping me from seeing what was blindingly obvious for nearly the entire journey. No idea how I could not have figured that out for so long and it was absolutely simple, but still, it lacked convincibility. Hm. According to my spelling checker that's not a word. Well, you know what I mean. I should mention that I'm not placing Docter in the Gild of Second Stringers, you almost have to forgive a writer some imperfections when delivering a complex and mostly well-done plot, and it's one of the best Dutch-language locked room mysteries I have read to date. A genuine pleasure to read.

Other Dutch-language mysteries I have reviewed:  

Bertus Aafjes' De vertrapte pioenroos (The Trampled Peony, 1973)
Bertus Aafjes' Een lampion voor een blinde (A Lantern for the Blind, 1973)
A.C. Baantjer's DeKok en een dodelijke dreiging (DeKok and a Deadly Threat, 1988)
A.C. Baantjer's DeKok en het lijk op drift (DeKok and the Corpse Adrift, 1998)
M.P.O. Books' De laatste kans (The Last Chance, 2011)
M.P.O. Books' De dood van Callista de Vries (The Death of Callista de Vries, 2012)
Willy Corsari's Voetstappen op de trap (Footsteps on the Stairs, 1937) 
Tjalling Dix's Een kogel voor Oedipus (A Bullet for Oedipus, 1954)
Tjalling Dix's Moord op het eindexamen (Murder During the Final Exams, 1957) 
F.R. Eckmar's Een linkerbeen gezocht (Wanted: A Left Leg, 1935)
Ben van Eysselsteijn's Romance in F-Dur (19??)   
Theo Joekes' Klavertje moord (Four-Leaf Murder, 1987) 
Simon de Waal's Een mes in de rug (A Knife in the Back, 2012)