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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Dekok and Murder by Melody by A.C. Baantjer

DeKok and Murder by Melody by A.C. Baantjer, translated by H.G. Smittenaar. Denver, Colorado: Speck Press, 2005. ISBN: 0-9725776-9-6

According to an author note, Dutch author and former police inspector detective himself, A.C. Baantjer has written 60 Inspector Detective DeKok “crime novels.” This is only the second one I've read, to my knowledge. I read one some years ago in which the Inspector Detective comes to America to solve a crime, set somewhere in northern New England: Maine or New Hampshire, I don't remember exactly.

I picked this one up because of the title: Murder by Melody. I'm always interested in fiction with a musical theme or background. In that sense, I was somewhat disappointed. Yes, the plot hinges around an aspect of music, music plagiarism to be exact, and even though the “Translator's Note” states that “this particular story is based on actual events from before World War II” (though “adapted for more recent times”), the story as told doesn't seem very plausible, and displays a lack of any thorough understanding of musical creation.

Or rather, perhaps, it would be fairer to say that while the plot hinges on uncovering an act of musical plagiarism, the musical aspects are treated fairly superficially, and without any real interest or understanding, just as a police officer WOULD presumably treat them, unless he were a lover of classical music like John Thaw's Inspector Morse.

Recommended for readers who enjoy a good police procedural, especially with a foreign flavor. But if you're looking for a real musical flavor, you'll probably be disappointed.

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