The Seacoast of Bohemia by Nicolas Freeling
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Travelling through the mountainous heart of Idaho and exploring its scenic wonders is not conducive to writing a book review, especially when the book just read is rather a big disappointment. Here’s then just a token review of Nicolas Freeling’s “The Seacoast of Bohemia”, the fifteenth and penultimate novel in the Henri Castang series.
Commissaire Castang, a high-level bureaucrat in the European Community, is contacted by a woman whose son has been missing for four years. She has just received a phone call from the child and knowing that Castang used to be a police officer she asks him to find her son. Since the woman’s father was an SS captain during the war, Castang realizes that the keys to the abduction lie in the past. The case leads him and his wife Vera to Germany and the Czech Republic. Castang soon discovers connections with some criminal activities on the Czech border, and it is actually Vera who is instrumental in solving the case. The theatrical finale takes place in Denmark.
The plot is rather feeble, not always plausible, and the denouement, slow in presentation, leaves a lot to be desired. Of course the writing is accomplished, but Freeling’s inimitably erudite and quirky prose is mostly absent. One virtuoso passage, which beautifully explains what marriage is about, certainly the best thing in the novel, does not save the book. To me, “The Seacoast” is the weakest of the almost 30 Freeling’s books that I have read so far.
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