A Max Liebermann Mystery by Frank Tallis
Review: Psychologist Max Liebermann is called upon to assist in the investigation of the brutal murder of a monk in Vienna Secrets, the fourth mystery in this series by Frank Tallis.
Brother Stanislav of the Piarist Order is found decapitated, his head seemingly twisted from his body. Detective Oskar Rheinhardt can hardly believe a single man could have had the strength to do such a thing. Even two men. But soon thereafter another body is found, a Catholic priest, killed in the same manner. Both men had been outspoken critics of Jews, likening them to a plague in the city. With their bodies found adjacent to a Plague Column, erected throughout the city to celebrate the end of the epidemic plague in the 17th century, the symbolism couldn't be more obvious. Are their murders the work of a Jewish sect out for revenge?
This supposition is quickly proved invalid, or at least unlikely, when the body of a rabbi is found, his head also placed near a plague column. Maybe someone is trying to start a religious war in Vienna, striving to get each side to blame the other — but to what end? Some, however, think it is the work of the devil himself. Liebermann and Rheinhardt follow leads from one end of Vienna to the other in an attempt to solve these gruesome crimes.
Vienna Secrets takes place in 1903 at a time when dissention between Christians and Jews was very real in Vienna. The historical aspect to the story together with detailed descriptions of the cultural life in the city at that time lend a credible backdrop to the murder mystery, so much so that it's hard to separate fact from fiction. Max Liebermann is an interesting, conflicted character: a non-practicing Jew but also a physician, trained to heal the physically ailing, but now practicing the study of the mind. This solidly plotted historical mystery is a strong entry in this series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Vienna Secrets.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of Vienna Secrets for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Random House (Trade Paperback), April 2011
ISBN-13: 9780812981001; ISBN-10: 0812981006
Location(s) referenced in Vienna Secrets: Vienna, Austria
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Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis — A Max Liebermann Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $15.00