Janwillem van de Wetering Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Janwillem van de Wetering is far more interested in character than in plot, and his perception of the criminals and the life around him is tempered by his Zen Buddhist experience. Thus, he brings a new dimension to the fiction of crime and detection. More than other writers in this genre, he also has a sense of place, and he conveys to the reader a feeling for Amsterdam. At the same time, he is a realist, and if he admires the beauties of the city’s canals, he makes no secret of the fact that there often is garbage and filth floating in them. In keeping with his interest in the mental, rather than the physical, excitement of the mystery story, he has a keen sense of psychology and an understanding of dreams.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Cooper-Clark, Diana. Designs of Darkness: Interviews with Detective Novelists. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1983. Van de Wetering is one of the novelists interviewed in this study of the craft of crime fiction in Canada, England, and the United States.

Genberg, Kjell E. “Hollandska mord (Dutch Murder).” Jury 9, no. 3 (1980): 21-23. Brief profile of van de Wetering and his fiction.

Hausladen, Gary. Places for Dead Bodies. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000. This study of the settings of mystery and detective novels includes a section on the Stockholm of van de Wetering.

Van de Wetering, Janwillem. Hard Rain. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986. A manuscript edition of van de Wetering’s novel, revealing the history of its composition and the author’s creative process.

Van de Wetering, Janwillem. “Reality in a Zen Monastery.” In Adventures with the Buddha: A Personal Buddhism Reader, edited by Jeffery Paine. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005. Autobiographical reflections on author’s experience of the nature of the real; provides insights into his attitude toward literary representation.

White, Jean M. “Murder by Zen: Janwillem van de Wetering.” The New Republic 179 (July 22, 1978): 34-35. Brief study of the role played by van de Wetering’s Zen Buddhism in his crime fiction.