Dutch crime writer A.C. "Appie" Baantjer has died at the age of 86, just over two weeks short of his 87th birthday.
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.
Appie Baantjer was himself an ex-policeman and worked for 28 years at the Warmoesstraat station in Amsterdam's red light district. Most of his books take place in that environment.
In the 1990s Dutch television started a series based on his books and entitled Baantjer, which ran for 12 years and significantly increased the size of his audience. The author himself was pleased with the TV version. "The way Piet Römer plays De Cock," he said " is exactly right."
After the death of his wife Marretje in 2007, Baantjer decided that the 70th De Cock book would be the last. However, he went on to work with co-authors on a new series about Hendrick Zijlstra, De Cock's nephew.
Literary critics tended to dismiss Baantjer's novels as "light reading" or worse, but he won several genre prizes and was at one time the best-selling Dutch author.
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