Since Adjutant Henk Grijpstra and Sgt. Rinus de Gier have appeared in 14 novels (The Perfidious Parrot, 1998, etc.) and only 13 stories—all of them collected here, 5 readily available in English for the first time—readers may wonder whether the short form really suits van de Wetering’s digressive gifts. The answer is yes, absolutely, fabulously—but only if you’re willing to define the detective short story rather more generously than usual. Van de Wetering, playing with the form like a cat with a mouse, sets his detective duo to investigate murders, suicides, a supermarket scam, sometimes shunting them into minor roles or keeps them offstage till the climax (their boss the commisaris even gets a case of his own). His expositions are equally varied—has any writer of mystery short fiction ever been so inventive in the ways he lays out the facts of a case?—and his casts thin but memorable, since he paints his characters so lovingly that he rarely has time to set up more than a suspect or two, each of them well worth your time. The changes van de Wetering rings on the short-story formula do more than any other recent writer’s work to inspire confidence in the form.