From Publishers Weekly
Philosophy professor Gregorio delivers a stellar debut, a mystery set in 1804 that cunningly incorporates the ideas of the great thinker Immanuel Kant into a twisty, fast-moving whodunit plot. Wisely, the elderly Kant is not the main focus, instead serving as the cryptic mentor to a young rural Prussian magistrate, Hanno Stiffeniis, who receives a royal summons to Königsberg to take over the search for a serial killer who has spread terror in that city. The dead, found without a visible wound, are rumored to have been victims of the devil, and the supernatural aspects of the crimes only heighten the level of fear in an area of Prussia already on edge because of the expected arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte's invading army. Admirers of quality intellectual fiction should embrace this book, with its pitch-perfect period detail and psychologically complex protagonist. Hopefully, readers won't have to wait long for a sequel. Foreign rights sold in 11 countries.(Nov.)
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*Starred Review* Sherlock Holmes himself would struggle to keep up with the master sleuth Gregorio brings to life. For it is none other than Immanuel Kant--apostle of reason--who emerges from his study to combat crime in this compelling historical mystery. To be sure, the Kant of 1803 is too old to take on principal responsibility for a murder investigation, especially one involving an elusive serial killer. That daunting task falls to the narrator, one of Kant's former students: the magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis. As Stiffeniis struggles to unmask the killer terrorizing Konigsberg, he finds himself increasingly reliant upon the great philosopher. Yet he is puzzled by the way the pioneering rationalist opens the door to mysticism and even to the demonic. And as Stiffeniis struggles to unravel the recent murders, he broods over his own role in the tragic climbing death of his brother years earlier. As befits this cast of characters, Gregorio leads the reader deep into philosophical ruminations on the limits of logic and on the nature of evil--all the while spinning a plot as taut as any mystery lover could want! Only a killjoy would reveal the denouement, but readers can expect stunning--and thought-provoking--reversals before the last clue is deciphered. Bryce ChristensenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved