- Copertina flessibile: 190 pagine
- Editore: Bloomsbury Reader (14 agosto 2012)
- Collana: Bloomsbury Reader
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 1448207061
- ISBN-13: 978-1448207060
- Peso di spedizione: 354 g
The King of the Rainy Country (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 7 ago 2013
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Along with Raymond Chandler's four great novels, Dashiell Hammit's "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man", and several of the cases of Horace Rumpole (of the Bailey) and a few short mysteries of Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey, this is my all-time favorite detective story. The protagonist, Inspector Van der Valk of the Amsterdam police, is directed by his superior to search all over Europe for an elusive businessman, for reasons that Van der Valk doesn't fully understand. On the way, at a German festival, the businessman picks up a much younger woman and they continue to elude capture, evading Van der Valk at a skiing competition and stealing ("borrowing") a helicopter to distance themselves from him. Does he locate them, finally? Yes, and no (I hate to appear ambiguous, but I don't wish to give anything away). The title "King of the Rainy Country" has nothing whatsoever to do with either a king (except in a very loose interpretation) or with a rainy country; the title is taken from a poem by Baudelaire. Van der Valk appears to speak several languages fluently (the Dutch are apparently very good at languages), and he sometimes, during his quest, wakes up exhausted in a railway station and realizes exactly he is only by the smell of the coffee served at the canteen. During his quest, his friendship with a German policeman, his intuitive awareness (continually sharpened during his search) of the lifestyles and habits of the very wealthy, and his knowledge of the names of Napoleon's generals prove invaluable. Unlike another key character in the novel, he apparently doesn't carry a gun, and he, like Chandler's Phillip Marlowe, has to be proof against the seductive blandishments of a very attractive woman (interestingly enough, the sought-after businessman's wife!). I read this novel to tatters, along with many others of Freeling's detective stories, mislaid it and gave the rest of the novels away, purchased a previously-owned copy from Amazon, re-re-read it, and finally gave *it* away to a European friend (and almost wish now that I hadn't). I highly recommend this mystery/love story, especially to anyone who enjoys travelling in Europe; it is very subtly filled with "local color", it is not overly long, it is just puzzling enough, and it is extremely entertaining. (signed) Edwin Timothy Vaughan