Books: Crime as Punishment

A DRESSING OF DIAMOND by NICOLAS FREELING 252 pages. Harper & Row. $5.95.

Two years ago, Nicolas Freeling committed a rare and shocking crime which might be described as protagonisticide. In Aupres de Ma Blonde, with no advance warning, he killed off his own central character, a laconic Amsterdam detective named Van der Valk, through whose human but gritty sensibility the author had previously filtered a dozen of the best psychological suspense novels written in Europe since the war.

Freeling pleaded extenuating circumstances—his own need for a change of character and scene. Faithful Freeling...

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