Nils de Jong

Nils is the Dutch owner of the North Grove Art Collective, a large house in Highgate which offers rooms to rent, studio space for artists and various art classes.  It was at the collective that Edie and Josh met, and where they started making the cartoon.  Nils’ partner is Mariam Torosyan, and he is the father of Bram de Jong. Nil’s ex, who was Bram’s biological father, was murdered in Amsterdam; she was an addict and did sex work to buy drugs.

Strike first sets eyes on Nils after tailing Seb Montgomery to the Red Lion and Sun in Highgate.  Nils arrives with his son Bram, who behaves obnoxiously throughout, speaking loudly, interrupting and harassing other pub goers.  Nils ignores Bram and makes no attempt to correct his behaviour.

Nils is described as very tall, in his forties, with long blond hair and a goatee.  He shares with Bram ‘wide upturned mouths and hooded downturned eyes, which gave a peculiarly mask-like appearance’ (Ch 21).

Josh Blay tells Strike and Robin that Nils is ‘loaded’ as he inherited lots of money from his father, who was a multimillionaire industrialist.  Apparently Nils always wanted to live as he does now, ‘do art, live in a commune, polyamorous’ (Ch 63).

Later Robin visits the Art Collective undercover, and Nils invites her into his studio, which is full of rubbish and ‘aggressively ugly’ art, and they chat whilst Nils smokes a joint.  Later, Pez asks Robin what they spoke about.  She summarises ‘Hindu tantrism, capitalism, suicide, anomie’ … ‘the aristocratic outlook, death being a fulfilment…’ Pez replies ‘You gorr’all his greatest hits’ (Ch 67).