Like many would-be authors, Nicolas Freeling (1927–2003) spent his youth working in restaurants. He took to the profession while wandering Europe after finishing military service and dropping out of college. Discovering a talent and a taste for cooking, he managed to reach the position of senior chef at an Amsterdam hotel. However, as a foreigner in a prominent position, he attracted suspicion and was jailed for three weeks on dubious charges, during which time he started to write. He became famous for his crime novels, especially his Van der Valk series, which was adapted for television. His novels have both popular and critical appeal and received awards including an Edgar Award, a French Grand Prix, and a Gold Dagger Award. In later years, he wrote a series of cookbooks recalling his restaurant years. In keeping with his reputation as a master of suspense, Freeling’s cookbooks are as engaging as any whodunnit mystery.