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Appie Baantjer authored seventy books in his detective DeCock series

Dutch crime writer dies at 86

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM – Former police detective A.C. (Appie) Baantjer, who recently passed away just over two weeks short of his 87th birthday, gave millions of readers an inside look into policing and the work of a detective as well as city life in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. His last two books he co-authored with former detective colleague Simon de Waal.

For nearly four decades he wrote two books a year about police inspector Juriaan de Cock, which sold millions of copies and were translated into numerous languages, including English, German, Polish, Korean and Chinese.

Albert Cornelis Baantjer was a former detective who worked for 28 years at the infamous Warmoesstraat police station in Amsterdam's red light district. Most of his books were placed in that environment.

In the 1990s, Dutch television launched a series based on his books, titled Baantjer, which ran for 12 years and significantly increased the size of his audience. The author was pleased with the way the lead actor Piet Römer played his role in the series.

After the death of his wife Marretje (van der Vaart) in 2007, Baantjer announced that his 70th De Cock book would be his last. He wrote another two with former detective De Waal of which the second one will be released later this year.

Baantjer also wrote books outside the De Cock series. While the crime novel series in the Dutch language sold over 7 million copies, his other work, about De Cock’s cousin Hendrick Zijlstra, was not nearly as popular.

Literary critics tended to dismiss Baantjer's novels as "light reading" or worse, but Amsterdam’s bestselling author nevertheless won several genre book awards.

Baantjer’s lead character in the English translation is called Dekok. Only about a dozen titles out of the series are available in English.