What's the connection between an elderly businessman who's been stabbed to death on the streets of Amsterdam and three lovely Dutch expatriates living as housewives in Dublin? That's the central question of The Lovely Ladies and it's one that extends into a fascinating mystery in the finest Freeling tradition. Intelligent and realistic mystery with well-written characters. The elderly man was killed in the market place in Amsterdam, just as Inspector Van der Valk was going past.
It was assumed, at first, that he’d been run over, but Van der Valk found the handle of an antique dagger emerging from the man’s old-fashioned waistcoat and said to the crowd, ‘This is a death by violence; you may have witnessed an assassination. Directly you have given your names to the officers, you may go home. Please be at home tonight: an officer will call to interview you.’ The dead man was identified as F.-X. Martinez. Van der Valk went to see Mrs. Martinez. She was younger than her husband, much younger. She called her husband Vader—father. But it was Martinez’s real daughters— the girls—that Van der Valk had to see. Lotte he didn’t see, she lived in Venezuela, but the others—Agnes, Agatha, Anastasia, the ladies of Belgrave Square, Dublin—they were the ones he saw. Because, in part, of Senator Terence Lynch—Irish and a most prominent figure —Van der Valk was told to proceed to Dublin. ‘You speak English, I suppose’?’ he was asked. ‘I can just barely make myself understood,’ he said. ‘That’s all that’s needed,’ he was told. And if was all, or almost all that was needed. This is a fascinating story by Nicolas Freeling, who knows Dublin well and whose knowledge of it and the Irish adds a whole magic flavour to this audiobook.
Nicolas Freeling (March 3, 1927 – July 20, 2003), was a British crime novelist, best known as the author of the van der Valk series of detective novels. Freeling’s The King of the Rainy Country received a 1967 Edgar Award, from the Mystery Writers of America, for Best Novel. He also won the Gold Dagger of the Crime Writers’ Association, and France’s Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. In 1968 his novel Love in Amsterdam was adapted as the film Amsterdam Affair directed by Gerry O’Hara and starring Wolfgang Kieling as van Der Valk.