As we have noted, English Golden Age detective fiction presupposes a fundamentally sound society (embodied in the ubiquitous collection of guests at a country house weekend) whose secure and stable culture is temporarily shattered by a disruptive force from within. Early authors within this tradition are simultaneously smug about the achievements of their society yet fearful that some underlying flaw may jeopardize the structures that legitimize middle- and upper-class hegemony. That is, they fear that the social history they are ostensibly encoding in their texts may well be only a veneer of civilization masking a deeply disturbing atavism that at any moment will undo the progress upon which they so often congratulate themselves. A contemporary Dutch writer of police procedurals like Janwillem van de Wetering faces a similar problem since modern Dutch culture is predicated upon a comparable legacy of containment: the cultural verities of the Golden Age of Dutch Empire.
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