Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands

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Author House, Mar 10, 2010 - Fiction - 264 pages
2 Reviews

A thinking and feeling person’s whodunit set in Amsterdam and environs... 


On her return from Africa, Monique Bongarts expects to be met at Schiphol by her English partner Peter, a historian at the University of Amsterdam. But he is not there and, on returning to their house in an Amsterdam suburb, she finds him in the shower naked and unconscious. He is rushed to hospital, but dies without regaining consciousness. Police issue a verdict of accidental death, but Monique is not satisfied and begins a search for the truth that leads her into the strange world of zinlos geweld (senseless violence) amongst urban youth, the amoral arena of late night TV sex shows made by her gay brother, and the double life of her partner’s boss Professor Piersma.


The truth is eventually revealed, but only after Monique has uncovered bizarre facts about her brother, her partner, her partner’s boss, the local youth leader and the strange bonds that link them. It is information she might have preferred not to know, as in the end it brings out her own hedonistic side – just like everyone else in Holland’s increasingly selfish society, she too succumbs to the desire to do something crazy ‘just for fun’.


“A kaleidoscopic and intelligent low-key thriller, with an insider’s eye for Amsterdam, that poses as many questions as it answers about Western society. Sharp and entertaining.”



“Great characters in a great setting with some very strange twists and turns. An original story and a good read from start to finish.”



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Excellent evocation of dark side of 90s Amsterdam...
Bought this as part of a three-for-one offer at my local bookshop in the UK - the other two titles (BACK IN 1984 and FRIENDS & ENEMIES) were by
same author and I've posted a comment on them, too. Really enjoyed SAD-EYED LADY. Makes a change having a whodunit that treats the reader intelligently, and has a genuine context for some of the darker things described. Not much blood and violence here - a plus point for me, as some writers treat their readers like trainee pathologists - but plenty of erotic intrigue and emotional bonds that are far from straightforward and part of a web of deceit spun around heroine of the title. All characters believable, if at times weird - ending a surprise that may shock, but takes book to a logical conclusion. Well written and worth buying.
Helen Mason

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About the author (2010)

Richard Woolley is a screenwriter, academic and former film director. In the eighties he wrote and directed a number of films for cinema and television. These included: Telling Tales (1980), Brothers and Sisters (1981) and Girl from the South (1988). He has written two other published novels, Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands and Friends and Enemies and has lived in Berlin, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and New Zealand as well as in his country of origin, England. He has one son, works as a university professor and is currently writing a new novel set in 2084.

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