As I stated in an earlier review of another Nicolas Freeling book, authors sometimes tire of their fictional heroes long before their loyal readers - Sherlock Holmes and John Le Carre's Smiley come to mind - and then struggle to convincingly, if briefly, resurrect them (Holmes) or convert their readership to accepting a new heroic character. To the stunned disbelief of thousands Freeling killed off his adored Dutch `copper' Piet Van der Valk after a dozen best-selling novels and several runs of a highly popular European TV series. He claimed that as he had relocated from Amsterdam and was now living in France he felt he could no longer accurately reflect the Dutch culture, and he introduced an entirely new policeman Henri Castang in a series that was actually more developed and multi-faceted than the Van der Valk series.
This book, written in 1974 in France, the Dressing of Diamond was the introduction to his readers of Freeling's new genre, based in the torturous procedures of the French Police courts, the story grips from the opening lines and the development of the `new' hero, Henri Castang evolves beautifully.
Freeling, who produced a whole body of work that is distinctly European, explored this character in a far deeper way than his earlier, lighter, if equally fascinating Dutch detective Van der Valk.