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The Japanese Corpse (Amsterdam Cops) Paperback – April 1, 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
Book 5 of 13 in the Amsterdam Cops Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Japanese Corpse

“[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.”
TIME

“What atmosphere! Elegant! Satisfying!”
The Baltimore Sun

“The ending is slambang!”
—Library Journal

About the Author

Janwillem van de Wetering (1931–2008) was born and raised in Rotterdam, but lived most recently in Surry, Maine. He served as a member of the Amsterdam Special Constabulary and was once a Zen Buddhist monk. He is renowned for his detective fiction, including Outsider in Amsterdam; The Corpse on the Dike; the short story collection The Sergeant’s Cat; The Maine Massacre, which garnered him the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière; and ten other books in the Amsterdam Cops series.
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Product Details

  • Series: Amsterdam Cops (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156947057X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569470572
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #738,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Janwillem van de Wetering's fifth Gripstra & De Gier novel is a somewhat convoluted mystery that takes you from the Netherlands to Japan, and back
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

series.
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Format: Paperback
It shocks and dismays me that the previous reviewer does not have the ability to analyze abstract novels. This is not a Tom Clancy book. Van de Wetering has practiced Zen Buddhism, been a cop in Amsterdam, and traveled the world. His writing is original in style and very abstract. This is not an author whose books I would recommend trying to tear up in an afternoon. But for those out there who have the time and mental capacity to let go and think about a book, Van de Wetering is an excellent choice. Do yourself a favor and don't allow the previous reviewers rant discourage you.
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Format: Paperback
One of the best Amsterdam Cops mysteries by Janwillem van de Wetering. The author, once a monk in Japanese Zen monastry I visited while in Kyoto, relies heavily on his in-depth knowledge of Japanese culture and customs. Van de Wetering has an eye for detail without neglecting the plot.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The beautiful Joanne Andrews goes to the police looking for her missing boyfriend. The search for him takes Grijpstra and De Gier into the world of art dealers, Yazuka and Zen treasures.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Griipstra and de Gier are two nice guys unless you are planning nefarious deeds. Their minds and working styles complement each other, just as Griipstra’s drums and de Gier’s flute enhance their impromptu performances. The aging commissaris provides leadership which combines a strong moral code and a mind still brilliant at managing many factors to create a devious sting operation. The plot ranges from the Netherlands to Japan and China and touches on motives as diverse as drug smuggling to a cheating girlfriend. Jan Willem van der Wettering adds many, many touches of humor and genuine emotion in what could be just another mystery story. Many of his books are out-of-print, but I so enjoyed them 25 years ago that I requested that the publisher make them available electronically. I am so glad they did.
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Format: Paperback
Yes, van de Wettering is a plodding writer. Yes, his detectives don't do much detecting in this book.
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.
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