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DeKok and the Geese of Death
By A. C. Baantjer

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DeKok and the Geese of Death

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DeKok and the Geese of Death
By A. C. Baantjer
Translated by H. G. Smittenaar
Read How You Want
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Font
(Originally Published in Standard Print by Speck Press, an Imprint of Fulcrum Publishing)
ISBN: 9781458747396
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - March 1, 2010

With more than 38 years of law-enforcement experience, A. C. Baantjer brings a sense of realism to DeKok and the Geese of Death, a low-key, yet gripping police procedural that features the wily, though normally reticent, techno phobic detective, Inspector DeKok of the Amsterdam Municipal Police - homicide division. As this case opens, DeKok and his erstwhile partner and friend, Vledder, have finally captured the serial killer, Igor Stablinsky. However, while they are out of the office, he escapes. Instead of being assigned to the task of recapturing Stablinsky, DeKok and Vledder are instead given the task of investigating the murder of a gaggle of Geese belonging to Isolde Bildijk, a widow with very good connections.

To say the least, DeKok is furious to be sent to investigate the suspicious death of the widow's geese, especially as the 'murder' occurred outside of his district. Thinking that someone was out to kill her, the widow had brought in the geese to guard her property, the geese being much more vicious than dogs, especially when they are kept on a starvation diet. When the geese die, she immediately calls for the arrest of her old gardener, Willem, who hated the geese. DeKok, however, doesn't think that Willem is the culprit, although he had motive enough. Surrounded by family members who are just waiting for the widow to die so they can inherit her fortune, DeKok thinks that more likely suspects abound - thereby setting himself up against his own boss as the higher-ups in the police department are bent upon doing whatever Bildijk wants done.

While DeKok initially finds this case a bit demeaning, things do start to get a bit more interesting once humans begin to be added to the death toll. As the investigation into the death of Bildijk's geese, and the search for Stablinksy, begin to merge into one case, DeKok and Vledder find that they have their work cut out for them.

This large print edition of DeKok and the Geese of Death also includes Baantjer's short story, DeKok and the Grinning Strangler. Originally published in Dutch as De Cock en de Ganzen van de Dood, this edition was translated into English by H. G. Smittenaar. His translation is flowing and seems to be of an excellent quality. However, I do wonder why he chose to change De Cock's name to DeKok?

Baantjer is one of the foremost novelists in the Netherlands, and he has penned more than sixty DeKok detective novels, all of which are in the process of being translated into English and published by Speck Press. At least ten of the English translations have already been published in large print by Read How You Want. DeKok and the Geese of Death appears to be a later book in the series, with DeKok starting to think about retirement but not yet in any hurry to take such a drastic step. However, you don't have to read the DeKok books in any particular order, and this volume is as good of a place to start as any.

DeKok and the Geese of Death is an all-around great mystery. The characters are finely wrought and very human, and there is just enough misdirection and red herrings in this book to keep you guessing about just what is really going on. As well, Baantjer's writing brings the streets of Amsterdam to life, giving the reader a virtual tour of the city and the surrounding environs. This is the first book by Baantjer that I've read, but it surely will not be the last!


DeKok and the Geese of Death is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available not only to visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.


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