Nicolas Freeling

Nicolas Freeling lives near Strasbourg. He is the author of many crime novels and his investigators include Van der Valk and Henri Castang.

Diary: On Missing the Detective Story

Nicolas Freeling, 11 June 1992

The pensée that no woman has ever given more pleasure in bed than Agatha Christie, now mildly feline, is much too kind, we would have said in the early Sixties when trying to write crime fiction under that then-monstrous shadow, doing the splits in the process. Everyone then mouthed the inanity that ‘the plot must come first’: a sense of character in crime-writing was a Gothic gargoyle, an afterthought.



9 April 1992

Elspeth Barker wrote in warm praise (LRB, 9 April) of Robert Liddell’s Stepsons, which plainly merits this. She emphasises the writer’s refusal to snipe at an easy target: ‘nothing cheap here.’ Is it not painfully out of key then to lash the pathetic ‘Elsa’ with her own scorn? The dim middle child, the Prussian boots, the ‘Gerwoman’ of whom ‘kindly aunts’ were to say: ‘Never call...

My Suggestion

4 April 1991

I do wish to say that having E.S. Turner’s ‘Turbot, sir’ is by itself worth a year’s subscription.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences