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Outsider in Amsterdam is a unique procedural

Outsider in Amsterdam

by Janwillem Van De Wetering

Soho Crime

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date: 2013


Outsider in Amsterdam is not your normal police procedural. Set against the colorful backdrop of 1970s Amsterdam, the novel features a pair of unusual detectives. They are faced with the murder of a guru. The man has a reputation as a womanizer and was known to have a temper. His disciples work for the society without recompense. But somehow money was being made, and suspicious characters are seen in the periphery - characters known to be involved in the drug trade. The detectives are surprisingly laid-back, almost lackadaisical in their approach. At one point they even have a jam session (with Gripstra on drums) while considering the case. As in the time it was written, the novel has a very clear anti-immigrant sentiment. Foreigners and foreign ideals are looked down upon. While it at first appears to be a simple case of following the money, Gripstra and de Gier find it to be far more complicated.

The easy going nature of the detective pair and their surprising approach to investigation makes for a unique novel. It isn’t a humorous novel, but there are many parts that leave the reader with a wry smile. If you are looking for a very different form of police procedural which captures the feel of the 1970s, look no further. Outsider in Amsterdam is a great, if somewhat surreal choice.

4 / 5

I received a copy of Outsider in Amsterdam from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



The first Amsterdam Cops mystery

On a quiet street in downtown Amsterdam, a man is found hanging from the ceiling beam of his bedroom, upstairs from the new religious society he founded: a group that calls itself “Hindist” and supposedly mixes elements of various Eastern traditions. Detective-Adjutant Gripstra and Sergeant de Gier of the Amsterdam police are sent to investigate what looks like a simple suicide, but they are immediately suspicious of the circumstances.

This now-classic novel, first published in 1975, introduces Janwillem van de Wetering’s lovable Amsterdam cop duo of portly, wise Gripstra and handsome, contemplative de Gier. With its unvarnished depiction of the legacy of Dutch colonialism and the darker facets of Amsterdam’s free drug culture, this excellent procedural asks the question of whether a murder may ever be justly committed.

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