Fwd: Re: RARA-AVIS: Baantjer

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Mar 2003

Mr. Theodore Westerhof, a Dutch afficianado of juvenile and young adult literature, ran across my post on the Dutch policeman/writer A.C. Baantjer, and was kind enough to send me some corrections and additional information which, with his permission, I'm passing on to you:

> I hope you don't mind but your text on this author
> needed some corrections.
> "This week I'll be looking at a few cop-writers from
> other parts of the world. First up: Albert Cornelis
> Baantjer of the Netherlands. Baantjer spent more
> than 25 years as a homicide
> detective in the Amsterdam police. After retiring,
> he began a long series of novels featuring a
> Maigret-like Amsterdam cop named DeCock."
> You are making two mistakes here, "Appie" Baantjer
> started both his writing carreer and the De Cock
> before his retirement. He was as such a writing cop,
> but of course not a British one. He wrote together
> with Maurice van Dijk his first book in 1959, about
> their lives a cops in a patrol car, published as by
> A.C.M. Baandijk.
> "There are now over 50 books in the series, which
> began appearing in the early '60s. about 30 or 40 of
> them have been translated and published in the US.
> Oddly, in the American editions the character's name
> is spelled
> "DeKok," apparently because of the sexual
> connotation in the word "cock." Reportedly, Baantjer
> based the character on a colleague named LeCoq,
> although this sounds suspicious since Lecoq is the
> name of the famous French policeman created in a
> series of 19th century novels by Emile Gaboriou."
> De Cock is a name consisting out of two words and
> is not written as one. The name is (pay attention
> now because it is gonna be very international) based
> on a coleague's whose real family name was "De
> Haan", which translates from Dutch into English
> either as "The Rooster" or "The Cock", the latter is
> just coincidence but gives reason to think that
> (some)people in the USA have either very dirty minds
> or have forgotten what male poultry is, it also has
> the meaning of a part of a gun that is set into
> motion when a gun is cocked. De Haan had been in the
> resistance during WW II and his nom de guerre had
> been Le Coq, French for rooster. So DE from De Haan
> and COQ from Le Coq, became the sound of that name,
> the more as there was a second coleague "Hock" who
> always introduced himself as "Hock with CeeKay". De
> Cock, the result from that fusion of names happens
> to be a very Dutch name suggesting a strict
> protestant christian back ground. Something the
> character has, but that is because he's mainly based
> on the author and the cop the author had wanted to
> be, a little more a servant of justice than one of
> the law.
> "What's seems more likely is that Baantjer may have
> been tipping his hat to Gaboriou, the first
> successful European mystery writer, and, according
> to some sources, the first writer to extend
> detective fiction from the short story to the
> I don't think so! Mind you, De Cock started as a
> minor character in "Een strop voor Bobby", best
> translated as "A noose for Bobby", in that the main
> character was ALBERT Versteegh, who seems to be the
> writer too. He only became the main character in the
> second book of the series, so I don't think it is
> likely to claim that an author would try and honor
> another one if he himself gives another reason for
> that name.
> "Baantjer (that single name appears as the by-line
> least on the US editions) is something of a
> publishing phenom in Europe. He's the single most
> successful writer in the Netherlands."
> Really? I wouldn't say that like that, he is the
> most succesful in this segment, you know crime and
> such for adults. I gather you are not aware that
> he's "The Police Detective" in a detective series
> for children (both sexes) written by Robert A. van
> Dijk, with "The secret of..." titles, I guess that
> series is not published anymore, but the writer of
> that series was a real life colleague of Appie
> Baantjer and he is featured in the De Cock books
> with his full middle name.
> "Each new DeCock novel regularly hits the Dutch
> best-seller list, then repeats the feat in other
> European countries. There is an extraordinarily
> popular DeCOCK TV series shown in the Netherlands,
> Belgium, and France, and a DeCock board game is
> currently one of the highest-selling toys in
> Yep, the name of that TV-series is Baantjer. The
> Belgian channel is the best version best as they
> give the original sound, with subtitles but without
> commercial breaks!
> "Baantjer's almost an industry."
> You can forget ALMOST, just not a world wide one.
> "I've enjoyed the Baantjer books I've read, though
> times the translations have seemd a bit awkward. THe
> atmosphere, and sense of place have been strong
> selling points for me, and I like the lead
> character, a man in late middle age who's seen it
> all, and still has managed to hold on to his
> humanity. There's not a lot of overt violence, and,
> while DeCock (or DeKok, since I've only read the
> American editions) and his partner, Vledder, are
> pretty tough cookies, it's difficult to say how
> "colloquial" they are since I'm reading
> translations. Which a roundabout way of saying that
> I don't know how hard-boiled most of you would
> regard them."
> Not really hard boiled, but just tough with a soft
> hearts. THEY ARE POLICE! If they would be really
> hard-boiled, they would be in trouble with their
> superiors not to say the military police all the
> time. They are confronted with murder after murder,
> work in a neighbourhood with more open prostitution
> than most hard boiled ones are confronted with. and
> especially De Cock knows people in the "underworld",
> as very good friends. In that they resemble the
> author in his days on the street, he has been a
> detective/inspector for over 28 years and finished
> his carreer without making personal foes. They are a
> bit soft and understanding, the younger and less
> experienced Vledder a bit less, but he grows better
> in the run of the series. If you want a more
> hard-boiled Amsterdam series I would suggest
> "Grijpstra en De Gier".


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