Simone van der Vlugt - copyright Wim van der Vlugt Fotografie

SIMONE VAN DER VLUGT (1966) is an acclaimed Dutch writer, who started with a series of YA novels. Her adult thrillers including THE REUNION, THE LAST OFFER, SAFE AS HOUSES and AUTUMN SONG are also huge bestsellers and have been bought by various foreign publishers. Her 2010 thriller IN THE CLEAR LIGHT OF DAY was another instant bestseller and winner of the NS Publieksprijs. Her trilogy about detective Lois Elzinga has been adapted for TV (scroll down page for descriptions). She published her first historical novel JACOBA, DAUGHTER OF HOLLAND in 2009, followed by THE EMPTY CITY; RED SNOW IN DECEMBER; MIDNIGHT BLUE, GINEVRA, SHADOWPLAY, SCHILDERSLIEF and the soon to be published DE KAASFABRIEK. She has sold millions copies in Holland alone.

She lives with her husband and two children in Alkmaar.


Author image © copyright Wim van der Vlugt Fotografie

Multi-Million-copy bestselling author


Winner of:



Best debut thriller 2004 crimezone

best dutch thriller 2010 crimezone

silver fingerprint 2009

NS publiekS Prize 2010

alkmaar culture prize 2006 for her body of work


De Kaasfabriek


THE CHEESE FACTORY is the new historical novel by Simone van der Vlugt, bestselling author of MIDNIGHT BLUE amongst other titles. This magnificent novel throws light on a fascinating period in Dutch history in an accessible and page-turning way. Amsterdam, 1892. Lydia is grieving the deaths of her parents, who died one quickly after the other. She has inherited their house in Amsterdam and the country house in Purmerend. In spite of her loss she is full of ideas for the future and for putting her father’s plans in place: to start a modern cheese factory, using steam power and with far increased production levels. But as a woman she is not allowed to start a business: she must work together with a modern farmer from the area, Huib Minnes. Together they build the biggest cheese factory in North Holland. Antwerp, 1914. Nora, Lydia’s daughter, marries Ralph Reymaekers and the couple settle down in the port city. After a serious fall out with her mother, about her origins, Nora is happy to be away from Waterland. But then the First World War breaks out and, during one horrific night, they have to flee.

What will the future look like for these progressive forward looking women?

Multimillion copy bestseller Simone has once again created an irresistible tale of family ties, love, suffering, strong women who refuse to accept their given lot in life set against a backdrop of dramatically changing times and the tumultuous war years.


AmboAnthos NL (original publisher, publishing August 2020)

Editions Philippe Rey France

Material: Dutch PDF (384pp)

Book image

A compelling novel about the maligned mistress of Rembrandt van Rijn. On a July day in 1650, Geertje Dircx is arrested by the Amsterdam council, pulled into a carriage and locked up for twelve years in Gouda jail. There is no trial. Her beloved Rembrandt is behind it all. Geertje Dircx looks back on her life from jail. She is of simple descent, becomes a widow young, but manages to save herself by working as a nanny for a well-to-do family. When that job ends, she goes to Amsterdam and joins Rembrandt van Rijn who is looking for a nanny for his son Titus, because his wife Saskia is seriously ill. After Saskia's death, Geertje soon runs the entire household, takes care of Titus and the lonely Rembrandt. For years they live as a married couple, and Rembrandt gives her the jewellery inherited from Saskia. But in the end his love for Geertje turns out to be worthless. Geertje does not leave it at that and accuses the famous painter. This is a story based in fact that has never before been revealed (indeed Geertje has always been portrayed as a money grabbing manipulative creature). It’s a powerful novel about a strong woman’s fight for her rights. The novel ends with fascinating transcripts of the actual legal papers of the time.


AmboAnthos NL (original publisher)

Editions Philippe Rey France

HarperCollins Germany

Polirom Romania

Kinneret Israel

Duomo World Spanish

Piemme Italy

Material: Finished copies of Dutch edition (310pp)

shadowplay (het schaduwspel)
schaduwspel Dutch cover

In 17th Century Amsterdam Eva Ment, the daughter of a cloth merchant, meets Jan Pieterszoon Coen, a wealthy man, Governor General of Batavia in the East Indies. He’s back in the Republic to find a wife amongst other things. In Spring of 1627 Jan and Eva travel to the East with their new born child, accompanied by Eva’s mother, older sister and younger brother. After a hard journey they are received like royalty in Batavia. But a period of great loss and revelation follows. After 3 years Eva makes her way back to Amsterdam. How do you live knowing your husband is capable of acts you find abhorrent? The story spans an important period in Dutch history – the East India Company, Spanish occupation, plague, great riches, great drama.

‘History comes alive in this novel. She describes the life of the Amsterdam elite, the tough sea journey to the Far East and the problems in the fort Batavia realistically. Another great worthy read from Van der Vlugt.’ Nederlands Dagblad

‘In this novel Coen is presented as a man who could love and was loved himself. Also as a man who did not make war for fun, but believed that the business of the VOC required it. As a husband Coen was more absent, physically and mentally, than harsh. Not that Van der Vlugt makes Coen into a nice guy but she does manage to show that Coen was more than just “the butcher of Banda”.’ Volkskrant


AmboAnthos NL (original publisher)

Material: finished copy of Dutch edition (349pp)

Book image

A seductive and timeless love story, based on an old Italian legend. Florence in 1347. The 18 year old Ginevra falls hopelessly in love with intelligent Antonio, but when he asks her father for her hand, the father refuses – rumours abound about Antonio’s enlightened ideas. Ginevra sees only one solution: to secretly elope with her love. They leave that very day, but their escape is scuppered. Back in Florence Ginevra’s father forces her to marry a wealthy widower. She becomes a prisoner in her own home. When the plague breaks out no one’s life is safe. Can true love really conquer all?

‘An exciting intriguing love story that takes place in late Medieval Florence, against a background of the plague epidemic. Ideal for the holiday suitcase.’ De Telegraaf

‘Simone has managed to bring the legend of Ginevra completely to life. The characters; the stubborn Ginevra who knows what she want and the intelligent Antonio who questions the blind following of the Bible, but also Florence of the 14th Century. I was there, I lived it. Alongside Ginevra I left everything behind for love and briefly tasted the free life, only to then be captured and put in a cage… Wow Simone, how beautifully and cleverly you have done it again! Another piece of history that has been given a face! Stunning!’

‘As moving as Romeo and Juliet’


AmboAnthos NL (original publisher)

Material: finished copy of the Dutch edition (171pp)

midnight blue (NachtblauW)


A page-turning novel about the historical origins of Delft Blue pottery.

Following the death of her young husband, Catrijn takes a job as housekeeper to the Van Nulandt family. She is happy in the job, and is able to support the lady of the house during her painting lessons. But Catrijn’s past catches up with her and she has to look for another post. She is taken on by Evert van Nulandt in his pottery factory in Delft, where her painting talent is greatly valued. Difficult times arrive. But Catrijn survives the great explosion that hits Delft in 1654 and destroys much of the city. She then faces a life-defining choice between heart and head: should she wait for her great love, who will away at sea for years, or choose the man who can give her security? Simone van der Vlugt weaves Catrijn’s gripping story with a fascinating period in Dutch history: the Golden Age in which commerce, science and the arts take a great leap forward.

Safe as Houses

'A beautiful story about the fate of a seventeenth-century youngwoman and the early days of the blue-and-white pottery from Delft… You live and suffer with Catrijn. You recognise her dilemmas.' Nederlands Dagblad

‘Van der Vlugt has immersed herself in the pottery painting of the time and weaves fact and fiction into a gripping story.' Leidsch Dagblad

'A clever story about a strong woman.' Leestafel

'I finished it in one day.' Five Stars, Shyama in Boekenland

'A great historical novel, with thriller aspects and romance. What more could you want?' Biepmiepje

'The local colour, the fascinating story, the interesting history, definitely for me born in Delft, means you read MIDNIGHT BLUE in one sitting.'

'Set in 1654, Dutch author van der Vlugt’s first novel to be published in the U.S. paints a fascinating portrait of Holland at the height of its economic and artistic power. After one moment of weakness leads to a pregnancy, independent, resourceful Catrin Barentsdochter ends up married to Govert, a violent, brutish man twice her age. Soon after the baby is stillborn, Govert dies in a drunken rampage. Catrin sells their property and sets out to make her way in the world. She ends up in Delft, where she finds work as a china painter for Evert van Nulandt, the kind owner of a pottery workshop, just as fine Dutch porcelain is being developed. In Delft, she finds friends, success, and love. But Catrin has a horrifying secret, and the one person who knows it threatens to destroy everything. The mystery element is slight, but mid-17th-century Holland is a wonderful place for lovers of historical fiction to visit, populated by great artists, intrepid explorers, and enterprising merchants.' Publishers Weekly


AmboAnthos NL (original publisher)


Ponte alle Grazie/Mauri Spagnol Italy

Mondo Libri bookclub Italy


Duomo Spain & Latin America


HarperCollins UK


William Morrow USA


HarperCollins Germany


Geopen Hungary


Metafora Czech Republic


Slovart Slovakia


Alma littera Lithuania


Polirom Romania


Kinneret Israel


Aschehoug Norway


Kragozor Bulgaria


Zysk Poland


Editions Philippe Rey France


Vulkan Serbia


Material: finished copies of the Dutch edition (320pp); English editions, various other language editions.

red snow in december
Red Snow in December

It is 1552, the eve of the 80 Years War. The newly weds Catholic Lideweij Feelinck and Protestant Andris Griffioen settle in Breda, where they become close friends with William of Orange. When the political climate changes under Catholic King Philip, Lideweij flees with her family to Naarden where they feel safer. Until a terrible tragedy befalls the small city..

****'Page-turning, moving and simultaneously informative history.' Noordhollands Dagblad

'Because love, revenge and family bonds intermingle, the latest from this bestselling author is an extremely thrilling book.' Flair

'The reader is transported by such stormy national history that the novel reads like a thriller' Margriet


AmboAnthos NL (original publisher)

Duomo Spain & Latin America

Editions Philippe Rey France

Material: finished copies of the Dutch edition (436pp).

the empty city
The empty city cover

On 14th May 1940 Rotterdam suffered the heaviest bombing of all the Netherlands. For the newly married Katja this means the end of her carefree life. She loses almost half her family. Together with her husband she takes in her remaining little brothers and sisters. She is determined to get them through the war alive. But the grimmer life gets the harder it is to survive and protect them all.


AmboAnthos NL (original publisher)

Editions Philippe Rey France

Material: finished copies of the Dutch edition (296pp).


In this historical novel Simone van der Vlugt utterly convincingly crawls into the skin of Jacoba van Beieren (1401-1436). Jacoba was way ahead of her time, didn't hide her feminist ideas and didn't always choose the easy route in love. Fate did not smile kindly on her. She was a widow at 15 and her father, Count Willem IV, died soon after making her Countess of Holland, Zeeland and Henegouwen. We get to know a woman who had to overcome many odds, but never resigned herself to her lot and became stronger with every obstacle faced.

'The history of Jacoba van Beieren is shocking but above all beautifully told.' Metro

'Stunning novel, bringing the fifteenth century vividly to life.' Libelle

'A gripping novel which brings the history of Jacoba van Beieren closer. Beautiful!' Flair


Ambo Anthos NL (original publisher)

Material: finished copies of the Dutch edition (318pp).



Safe as Houses




‘Someone who can describe the universal fears of women this brilliantly, deserves her place at the top. She did it before and she does it again. All honour to her.’ Crimezone

'A fast-paced example of suburban noir... a lean, stripped-down thriller that hits the ground running and sprints full-tilt to its breathless climax.' Irish Times

‘Van der Vlugt knows how to tell more by writing less. The tension stays tight and reading to the end is a must. And there are several unexpected plot twists, all in all nothing but praise.’ Ezzulia

‘Just imagine it: you are standing as a single mother in your garden of your isolated house, hanging the washing out and suddenly an escaped convict appears who holds you and your daughter hostage. How will this end? Escape isn’t an option, there are no neighbours, you can’t even rely on attention from the postman. Lisa does everything, even the unimaginable, to save her life and especially her child’s life. In the meantime she asks herself why the woman, who appeared out of the mist in her garden and saw her desperation, hasn’t organised a rescue. In vivid and well written pages, pages that simmer with angst, tension and lust for revenge, the talented bestselling author Simone van der Vlugt conjures up a hair-raising portrait of our time.’
- Jury report of De Gouden Strop Prize

‘Blue Water reads like a nightmare from which it is difficult to wake. Simone van der Vlugt builds up the tension brilliantly in this very topical story.’ Veronica Magazine, ****


Ambo Anthos NL (original publisher)

Diana Verlag/Heyne Germany

Canongate World English

Punktum Denmark

AV Forlaget Den Grimme Ælling Danish Audio

Feeria/JK Publishing Poland

Bjartur Iceland

Material: finished copies of Dutch (220pp), English and German editions.






When Isabel disappeared, Sabine was fifteen, isolated at school and tormented by her former friend. She remembers nothing from that hot May day. Nine years later, unbidden memories are returning to Sabine. What if she saw something the day of Isabel’s disappearance? What if she could put a name to the shadowy figure in her dreams? And what if her knowledge was dangerous? A hugely exciting literary thriller, presenting intriguing themes, such as the suppression of traumatic events, the competition between teenagers, and also between colleagues, love, and above all, about friendship.


‘Hard to put down. Thrilling.’ Cosmopolitan


‘In just two pages the beautiful prologue immediately produces a feeling of tension. Tension that keeps you entangled throughout the story and ensures that you read The Reunion in one sitting.’

‘A thriller that, without physical violence or big armoury, still generates suspense which is maintained right until the end.’ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


‘This lightly and sweetly narrated psycho-thriller develops an extraordinary maelstrom.’ Spiegel


‘Highly recommended to all fans of crime fiction who have strong nerves.’ Glamour


'A gripping psychological thriller which breathes new life into that old cliche "unputdownable"' Waterstone's Books Quarterly


Ambo Anthos NL (original publisher)


Diana Verlag Germany


Text Australia


Presses de la Cite France


Kowalski/Feltrinelli Italy


Seix Barral/Planeta World Spanish


Harper Press UK


Muza Poland


Record Brazil


New World Press China (Simplified)


Athena Press Taiwan (Complex)


Material: finished copies of Dutch (336pp), English, Italian, German editions.

Shadowsister Cover

Simone van der Vlugt's second novel, published in October 2005, tells the story of Marjolein a passionate, committed teacher in a black secondary school in Rotterdam. She is proud of her great contact with the kids but one day she comes face to face with another side of the teaching. She is threatened by one of her students during a class and from that moment on her life changes completely and she finds herself caught between loyalty to her school and fear of the threats that just don’t stop. Who has it in for her and just how far are they prepared to go? Another tense thriller, written with great wit and pace about how ordinary everyday life can suddenly change into hell. Over 100,000 copies sold.


‘This is the best psychological suspense story I have read in a long time - utterly believable and totally riveting.’ Daily Mail

‘There is a lot more going on under the surface than the reader is being told, and the author does not put a foot wrong in the difficult task of making the narrators seem honest while at the same time conveying more than they are willing to admit to themselves or to us. The novel is creepy, effective and highly readable’ Eurocrime

‘Van der Vlugt dreams up ingenious plots that keep you on the edge of your seat.' Parool

‘Gripping from the very first page, the recognisable anxieties make it all the more gruesome and it's surprising to the very end. We have our own Nicci French' Veronica Magazine, ****


Ambo Anthos NL (original publisher)


Diana Verlag/Heyne Germany


Text Australia


Harper Press UK


Kowalski/Feltrinelli Italy


Material: Finished copies of Dutch (340pp), German and English editions.

Tell No One


'Surprising new thriller' De Telegraaf

Written with great pace and fascinating’ Margriet

‘After the climax the book screams for more, more, more!’ Limburgs Dagblad

‘Gripping, moving and compelling. Lois Elzinga has made her mark. And what a mark!’

The first in Simone's series starring the 31-year-old detective Lois Elzinga from Alkmaar, department North-Holland North. Together with her partner Fred, who is soon to retire, she has to investigate the violent murder of a school teacher. The manner in which he has been killed points to a woman’s act of revenge – his penis has been cut off and put in his mouth. In his pocket there is the brochure for an exposition which leads the police to the painter Maaike Scholten. She says she doesn’t know David but she’s lying. Another trail leads Lois to the photographer Tamara who appears to have vanished into thin air. When two more murders follow, Lois delves deep into the psyche of the murderer. Part of a series starring Lois, an extremely well-drawn, intriguing character

Lois Elzinga is a troubled woman, marked by the death of her younger sister at five years old, a mother who had a break down and ended up in psychiatric care, a father who left them and her American boyfriend who has moved back to his homeland. Lois struggles with her past, with her failed relationship and with the horrific situations her job exposes her to. Simone van der Vlugt introduces her background expertly and seamlessly slips into the story of her often painful private life. Lois’s first case is a story that packs a big emotional punch.


Ambo Anthos NL (original publisher)


Diana/Heyne Germany


Material: finished copies of Dutch (293pp) and German editions.

Tomorrow I'll Be Back

When 11-year-old Britt doesn’t come home from her gym class, it rapidly becomes obvious that this is no ordinary missing person case. Britt and her mother live a quiet existence in Alkmaar and are happy together. Lois and her team are put on the case. Vague reports of a man sighted standing in the bushes of the sports centre come in and of a van’s tracks along Britt’s cycle route. When it becomes clear that Britt has been taken abroad, Lois is faced with a problem – she has no jurisdiction over the border. This is the follow up to TELL NO ONE, another tightly plotted thriller in which we get to know Lois even better.


Ambo Anthos NL (original publisher)


Diana/Heyne Germany


Material: finished copies of Dutch (277pp) and German editions.

Don't Ask Why

In the parking area of a shopping centre in Alkmaar, a woman is stabbed. Not long after a schoolgirl dies of her wounds in the alley behind her house. A third stabbing follows quickly. Little links the suspects. Lois and Fred are once again faced with a mystery. In the meantime Lois’s sister Tessa is going through a difficult time and also seems to have a stalker. For both sisters the past seems to be getting far closer than they would like. The story lines of the stabbings in Alkmaar and Lois’s problematic youth are woven together effortlessly. This is another powerful psychological thriller.


Ambo Anthos NL (original publisher)

Diana/Heyne Germany

Material: finished copies of Dutch edition (284pp).