With his Nordic cousins Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum, both currently enjoying worldwide success, Tim Krabbé shares a Northern European taste for depressive heroes and sinister scenarios. Het gouden ei (The Vanishing, 1984), already familiar to those who have seen either of the novel’s cinematic incarnations, both of which are cult classics, is no less chilling now than it was at the time of its original publication in 1984.
Central to the story is the disappearance of a young woman at a French motorway service station. Rex and Saskia are heading for the South of France after spending the night in a hotel. Bickering about whether to stop for petrol, they finally pull off at a total garage, where Rex waits in the car while Saskia goes to get a cold drink. An hour later, she has still not returned.
Krabbé’s authorial voice conveys a sensibility every bit as sinister as that of his creation. The novel’s thoroughly amoral killer, Raymond Lemorne, is fixated on sartorial neatness and partial to expensive gourmet delicacies. Krabbé’s strong characters and his dialogue, particularly between the sexes, make this clever, elegantly plotted story essential reading for anyone drawn to exploring the dark side.