René Appel (b. 1945) had been reviewing crime fiction for a leading Dutch newspaper for ten years, when he decided to try his own hand at the genre. Both his debut thriller, Handicap (1987), and his second book, De derde persoon (Third Person, 1990), contained echoes of Patricia Highsmith, whom he introduced to the Dutch readership. He won the Gouden Strop (Golden Noose) Award for De derde persoon and again for Zinloos geweld (Random Attack, 2001). From 1994 until 2003 he was Professor of Dutch as a Foreign Language at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2003 he devotes his time almost entirely to writing. He has meanwhile published almost twenty mystery novels and two collections of short stories. He has also written for children.