September 13, 2011
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Vienna Blood

by Frank Tallis

In 1902 Vienna, an inspector for the Security Services teams up with a Jewish psychiatrist to investigate serial murder. Both are musicians, and each is deeply embedded in the urban life of a fascinating city. A visit to Bergstrasse 19 is handled especially well. The setting poses a fascinating formal challenge to Tallis: since the reader knows Vienna stands on the brink of a terrible short century, the mystery’s anticipated restoration of order cannot entirely succeed. Tallis in this way is an interesting contrast to the early Le Carré. I grabbed this after reading an enthusiastic TLS review of a more recent entry in the series, and was not sorry.