Friday, August 19, 2016

A Death in Vienna -- A Very Short Review

Photo: The book's paperback cover, from a review at The View from the Blue House, because how could you not read a blog with that name?

A rare treat: A fantastically written novel that's also a helluva mystery.

A woman shot to death in a locked room--but no bullet. Vienna at the turn of the 20th Century. Sigmund Freud. Anti-Semitism. Gender bias. Another murder. Cultural references. Schubert and Lizst. Philosophy. The beginnings of modern-day detection. And beautiful writing. What else can you ask for?

All of these come together in A Death in Vienna, one of the better books I have read in some time. So good, in fact, that it makes me want to write (more, or consistently) again, after a bit of a bummer summer. This is indispensible for me, and I am grateful.

And did I mention that the book and its writing are intelligent? You won't feel pandered to or talked down to here. Nothing is spelled out for you, and there aren't any cliffhanger chapters that you or Annie Wilkes would have a problem with. (Well, okay, I didn't like one of them, a misunderstanding between a character and his wife. But, what the hell.)

This book is the first in a historical detective series of six books, the last published in 2012. A pity there haven't been more, but Tallis said he was worried about over-saturation and the books blurring together with nothing new to say. I have to admit: Jonathan Kellerman and, yes, maybe Robert B. Parker fell victims to this. Perhaps Tallis was wise to keep his series short. He has written many other things, and good writing is good writing, and the genre is essentially the same, so check them out, under both of his names. I have just written a note to myself to check area bookstores for all of Tallis's books, written under Frank Tallis and under F.R. Tallis.

You should do the same. Read this one first, as apparently reading them in order does matter for this series.

Very highly recommended, so much so that I have unapologetically written a short, gushing review. This one made me excited about getting back home and finishing errands so I could read more. What better compliment is there to give?

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