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The Japanese Corpse (Amsterdam Cops) Paperback – April 1, 2003
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“[Van de Wetering] has a genuine gift for characterization . . . The villains are the yakuza, Japan’s Mafia, who of course have their own extralegal culture with its warriors, taboos, codes, and pretty girls. The author obviously knows the methods of his florid villains very well.”
“What atmosphere! Elegant! Satisfying!”
—The Baltimore Sun
“The ending is slambang!”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
again.The Amsterdam murder brigade is called on to investigate the disappearance of a mysterious Japanese art dealer.As usual, in this unique mystery series, the detectives are attempting to solve the case, while at the same time they are attempting to expand their understanding of the philosophies of zen Buddhism.In this story, their
investigation takes them to Japan where they encounter the Japanese version of organized crime,
called the yakusa.
The Dutch detectives engage in a philosophical chess match with the yakusa leader that is somewhat confusing to follow, even if you are a fan of this series.
If you are not at all interested in eastern religion and philosophy, then this book is not for you. This series is hardly typical compared to any other detective novels. The emphasis here, as in all of the author's novels in this series, is on Buddhism.
Van de Wetering has an ability to educate his readers while distracting them with subtle humor, and biting sarcasm. If you want to experience a combination of mystery, humor, religion, and philosophy then you will enjoy The Japanese Corpse, as well as the authors other books in this
In this fifth book of the Grijpstra en de Gier sequence, the commisaris plays a more central role than ever before. The character of commisaris - as the author tells us in one of his interviews - is a blend of his late Kyoto Zen master, his father, and the chief inspector of the Amsterdam police, when van de Wetering served as a cop in this force.
True, the book is a bit on the extreme. Especially the scenes with the Yakuza. But then again, if it were too realistic it wouldn't be a real van de Wetering or good entertainment for that matter. If you like unorthodox books, you will love this one. I most certainly did.
The Japanese Corpse is quite affecting to read. Van De Wetering is more emotionally extreme than usual as he leads De Gier into personal tragedy on his way to solving the mystery.
I have never failed to enjoy a Van de Wetering book-- his ruminitive detectives are just my speed. I have enjoyed some of the other books more than this one (Death of a Hawker, The Blond Baboon), but it is still enjoyable reading.
If you are a fan of smart meditative mysteries, then I cannot recommend Van de Wetering hightly enough.
But give him credit for his strengths, including characterization, and for even attempting the bizarre marriage of Zen and the mystery novel.
If you want a Dutch-flavored detective, read Baantjer. In Van de Wettering's books, the cops are far too unearthly to be nailed down to a specific locale; the Netherlands is just as good a place as any to borrow street names from.
All that said, "The Japanese Corpse" is not his best effort. He does seem quite uncomfortable trying to navigate the Japanese scenes, and character motivation is either too blunt (girlfriend and cat die, therefore you punch out punks who are torturing another kitty) or essentially nonexistent.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A highly original book with many interesting points concering the difference/similarities in Western and Oriental way of thinking. Read morePublished on May 7, 2014 by Einar Hjorleifsson
Story was very predictable. And the novel had over 50 typos. The typos came from the Novel been converted digitally. Too bad the publisher didn't take the time to proofread. Read morePublished on March 22, 2014 by Paul M. Floyd
Don't think I'll read any more of this author. I read nordic novels which are better written and have better plots.Published on March 21, 2014 by D. E. Wilson
I have read the first 4 books in this series with relish and pleasure. This one was too far-fetched to enjoy. Read morePublished on December 15, 2012 by Booker G
Rich and entertaining and wise and surprising, and ultimately very satisfying. It would certainly help to have read at least the previous volume of this series to fully appreciate... Read morePublished on February 14, 2010 by just real