The comparison to Simenon is inevitable. The pace, the investigatory technique, the relationship that builds up between investigator and suspect -- all are here. Elsa, Martin's ex-mistress is murdered. Martin and (to a much lesser extent) his wife Sophia are suspects. Van der Valk, the detective, stalks him both physically and mentally. Suspense builds through the taut web of present danger and remembered past, until the real murderer, trailing all the tags of the dea ex machina, is trapped in an overactive finale.