RARA-AVIS: Nicholas Freeling (1927-2003)

From: Karen Anderson ( karenand@mac.com)
Date: 27 Jul 2003

European crime fiction writer Nicholas Freeling died last Sunday (July 20) at 76.

 From an intellectual but relatively impoverished family, Freeling originally trained as a chef in France and England and later became a crime fiction writer. His Henri Castang series (about a jaded police detective, first set in France and later in Belgium) is introspective in a manner that recalls Simenon's psychologicals. While there was nothing blunt, crude or shocking about Freeling's books, he wrote with exceptional sangfroid and irony about the trappings of crime and official investigations--bitter marriages, twisted families, human greed, professional rivalries, and pervasive government corruption.

In addition to the Castang series, Freeling also wrote a series about a Dutch detective, Inspector van der Valk, and non-fiction books including Criminal Convictions: Errant Essays on Perpetrators of Literary License, and two cookbooks.

Though winner of an Edgar (for The King of a Rainy Country), Freeling enjoyed most of his recognition in England. The Economist.com recommends the Castang series as a "must-read" for travelers to Brussels.

If you haven't read any Freeling yet, I recommend his early books, set in France, including "Cold Iron," "The Back of the North Wind," "No Part in Your Death," and "Not As Far as Velma."

For any of you interested in more about Freeling's career (he began his first book while in jail!), check out the obituary in The Guardian online.


********************* Karen G. Anderson Contributing Editor January Magazine http://www.januarymagazine.com email: karenand@mac.com

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