Vintage Mystery Challenge 2012: Doing the Dutch

"You've got stuck in a moment
And now you can't get out of it.
- U2 (Stuck in a Moment)

A comfort to the reader: if this posts strikes you as familiar, than you're not experiencing déjà-vu. Just like Patrick, I'm dropping out of the 2012 Vintage Mystery Challenge

I thought that compiling a list of reviews, collected under the title Dutch Delinquencies for the 2012 Vintage Mystery Challenge, would be easy sailing when I picked up the gauntlet that Bev had thrown down, but inopportunely, I had to ask if readers who haunted this blog were actually interested in reviews of untranslated, non-English mysteries – which received a discouraging reply. This makes it futile to sprint for the deadline, because it would inevitable result in a barrage of reviews that only a few want to read.  

In hindsight, the lack of views and comments were (alas!) an indicator of disinterest, but nonetheless gambled on the cat-like curiosity, a key trait of the mystery enthusiast, to garner a small crowd of inquisitive onlookers.

Ho-Ling was only partially correct when he observed that reviewing non-English detective stories is like working in a niche area within a niche area, however, he neglected to mention that those niches are part of a ramshackle, boarded-up house with a reputation of being haunted and few who dear to venture near it.

Anyway, I will continue to explore and write about foreign mysteries, albeit in smaller doses, so bear with me whenever I bring one up.

Finally, a new review will be up over the weekend.


  1. If I can venture my opinion, review what you want to review. I found my blog much more satisfying for myself when I stopped choosing books for their possible popularity in cyberspace. If you want to read and review non-English books, then do it.

    Look at my reviews of Peter Tremayne's canon. Six reviews, one comment in total. Virtually no-one who reads my blog seems to have read Tremayne for whatever reason (or doesn't want to admit it) - I guess a crime-solving nun in 7th Century Ireland doesn't appeal - but I enjoy them. Admittedly, it'll be easier to persuade someone to try them than to convince someone to learn a foreign language...

    Keep up the good work, whatever you choose to review.

  2. What a shame TC, though I understand your point of view though from my POV, being able only to read Italian and English, it makes it harder to comment about works you can't currently read though it doesn't change the value of your writing. Like the good Doctor, I started blogging at Fedora to get over a bad case of reader's block, so I quite like Challenges to keep me on the straight and narrow as it were! But that is hardly everyone's motivation - Do only what you like chum, great blog.

  3. Well, it's not that I want hundreds upon hundreds of views and dozens of comments per post, but when you invest time in something, it's nice to see it paying off somewhere - and it's just disappointing when a part of it stays way behind the rest.

    Not a big deal, really, I just have to spread it a little better. Of course, no promises if I ever discover another Cor Docter.

  4. Ah, TomCat. I do feel badly about this...I have not stopped by near as often at the reviews of any of my participants this year. But that has been purely a personal issue (over-committed myself on all fronts--both on the blog and off) and certainly has nothing to do with the fine reviews that all of the challenge participants have been doing. I'm really sorry to see you and Patrick drop out. I will keep dropping by when I can, however, because as both the Doctor and Sergio say--you do fine work here on your blog.

  5. I don't know Dutch. But when I'm learning a language, I like to read detective stories in it. I read the Japanese detective story blog you mention often, because I'm learning Japanese now. I suspect that if you occasionally discuss a Dutch language detective story, the discussions will eventually attract a few readers like me (but for Dutch, not Japanese).

  6. People read my blog?! j/k Thank you for your visits!

    >TomCat: I certainly can understand your feelings about it (more than most people, maybe?), but in the end it is about what _you_ want to read/review, I think, no matter the hits/comments.

    Seriously, if I were to go by views and comments, I would have stopped blogging ages ago.

  7. I do make time to read your blogs about Dutch writers, especially if the works under consideration involve locked-room mysteries or other impossible crimes. But because I don't speak that foreign language, my interest is somewhat less than is the case when I can sample any translated works. Not long ago, a short story by the French author, Pierre Very, was translated to English and printed in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. If I were to hear that name again in someone's blog, what they wrote would certainly seem more significant than if no translations were available. You have mentioned van de Wetering in the past, and consequently I was motivated to learn more about him. But simply because there are books I can read in English. So perhaps sometimes, you could review books that are available in English as well as Dutch.

  8. I've had to throw in the towel with my challenge as well. I had good intentions but I know now that my preference is for checking out whatever looks interesting at the time rather than planning a schedule of reading in advance.