16 August 2008

Forgotten Books: CRIMINAL CONVERSATION, Nicholas Freeling

I'm writing this post to be part of Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books theme. I will try to do it more regularly to participate in this project, since she has asked me so nicely :-)

Do you remember the Van der Valk TV series? Well, CRIMINAL CONVERSATION was #5 in the series of books that the television series was based on.

My little journal, where in 1975 I began recording the titles and authors of books that I had finished reading, tells me that I read CRIMINAL CONVERSATION in the middle of 1976. I was actually in the middle of an Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh "kick" at that stage, and I couldn't tell you whether I enjoyed the book or not.

My little manually written journal is a fascinating overview of the authors I've read over the years, and clearly shows the writers who shaped my reading tastes.

Perhaps in this posting, I am talking not so much about forgotten books, but forgotten authors. Nicholas Freeling figures on Wikipedia, and in Fantastic Fiction.
The Van der Valk TV series starred Barry Foster and was a big hit out here in Oz.

The blurb on Fantastic Fiction for CRIMINAL CONVERSATION reads
A mysterious letter alluding to the murder of Cabestan by a named killer, Dr Hubert van der Post, arouses the interests of the irascible and ever-suspicious van der Valk who decides to find out who the mysterious letter writer is. What transpires is a tale of deception and adultery as the rich, very careful character of Carl Merckel, the managing director of the Lutz Brothers merchant bank, lays an accusation of cold blooded homicide of which, he claims, his wife had no part to play.

Nicholas Freeling seems to have begun writing during a three-week prison sentence, after being convicted of stealing some food. He was actually quite prolific, writing over 35 books over a 40 year period: 13 in the Van der Valk series, 16 in the Henri Castang series, a number of stand alones, and 3 non fiction books.

I'd be interested whether his earlier novels have stood the test of time.
He died in 2003 at the age of 76, and published his last novel in 2002.

BTW, I still write in my notebook the titles and authors of the books I've read, together with the date that I completed the book. The spine of my faithful green notebook collapsed at the end of 1999, and was replaced in 2000 with a new red book. The two books now contain records for nearly 2,700 books, collected since 1975, at the rate of just over 80 books a year.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Adored Freeling, esp. the Van Der Valk series. The French one worked a little less for me. I used the Dutch one to acclimate ourselves to Amsterdam when we lived there in 1997. Thanks, Kerry.


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