Atmospheric literary thriller about rural secrets
The backdrop to Charles den Tex’s new thriller is a village in the south of the Dutch province of Limburg. It is a world where everyone knows everyone else and no one can hide their origins, a world of secrets and smouldering feuds.
In the powerful opening, we meet ‘heir’ Breder Weltmann, who looks out over the valley from his country estate and sees the village lying in the depths. He lives alone on the property, which was acquired with money earned from the mining industry and fell to him after his parents died in a car crash. Was it really an accident?
Weltmann knows that everything he can see belongs to him and this keeps the outside world at a reassuring distance. On this particular morning, however, his peace of mind is disrupted. He senses a presence, an intruder, a danger that is not yet tangible or visible but shortly afterwards becomes all too concrete: his house is set on fire, he is robbed and assaulted. Breder discovers that a mysterious woman has a grievance she wants settled.
The Heir proves once again that Charles den Tex is a master of crime writing. His understated, suggestive style keeps the source of the lurking danger a mystery up to the moment when it is revealed to the heir himself. Den Tex’s depiction of relationships in the village is convincing, with the rich, privileged heir in stark contrast to the jealous, conniving alderman. Step by step, in a beautifully sustained cadence, his central character discovers the secrets his forefathers swept under the carpet — or buried deep underground.