The above mystery is the premise of a new TV series premiering on 9 September on VRT, but you can get a head start by joining in the investigation online. Not only is the TV show The Spiral revolutionary, it’s also available as a computer game, which should keep your blood up for hours on end (if only from frustration).
The TV show is remarkable because it features an international cast from Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Directed by Flemish director Hans Herbots, who has also made episodes of Flikken, Zone stad and Wittekerke, it also stars his partner, Lien Van de Kelder, as well as Flemish actor Johan Leysen, who was in The American with George Clooney.
The TV show is in English and will also be screened in other countries later, by which time the more adept among you may already have solved the mystery online. The game involves deduction, guesswork, typing very fast and running along buildings trying not to fall off.
As a nice touch, the paintings – by Ekserberg, Larsson, Sjerfbeck, Munch, Picasso and Rembrandt – are also “missing” (out on loan) from their respective museums.
Offside consultant Oscar, meanwhile, is 14 years old, a master of the PlayStation and more suited to this sort of thing than yours truly. He tried the game out and reported back that, while the challenges are easy enough, the game is confusing, with little explanation of the rules available. Perhaps we need to wait for the TV series to begin for more information. Or perhaps international art theft is more complicated than we thought.