I was prompted to read this book, because I had come across a used copy of the second book in the series; and once-upon-a-time I had enjoyed the BBC show based on the main character. This is not only the first in the Inspector Van der Valk series, but it is also the first book Nicolas Freeling wrote.
The mystery is written in three separate parts, and the parts do not mesh very well. One of the weaknesses of the novel is the fact that the first part is the strongest and it's just downhill from there until at the end Freeling is practically pulling the murderer out of thin air.
The police do not even appear in the middle section, which recounts Martin's relationship with the victim. I wondered if Freeling originally wrote this as a stand alone novel, because it's written from Martin's point of view, who is the chief suspect until the very end.
The character of Inspector Van der Valk is intriguing though, with his gallows humor, and extremely
talkative demeanor. The book is at it's best when he is on the page. I'll give the next few books in the series a chance, hoping that Van der Valk is more center stage in those, and that the plotting improves.