From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Set in Vienna in 1898, Jones's absorbing whodunit succeeds both as a mystery and as a fascinating portrait of a traditional society in ferment. When artist Gustav Klimt becomes a suspect in a series of bizarre murders, he turns for help to his lawyer friend, Karl Werthen, who joins forces with real-life pioneering criminologist Hanns Gross. Werthen and Gross follow a trail that leads through all strata of Viennese society and threatens to put them at odds with not only a trained killer but powerful members of the ruling class. Jones skillfully incorporates into his narrative many of the notable figures who lived in Vienna at the time. Some, like Klimt and sexologist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, play important roles, while others, like Zionist founder Theodor Herzl and visiting American author Mark Twain, make brief but highly appropriate appearances. Jones (Time of the Wolf
) delivers a meaty historical that bodes well for further adventures. (Jan.)
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In the waning years before World War I, Vienna is an old-fashioned city ruled by the Hapsburg emperors and home to the unconventional artist Klimt. In the summer of 1898, one of Klimt’s models falls victim to a serial killer, and he begs for help in clearing his name. Former criminal attorney Werthen begins a leisurely investigation into the murders, ably assisted by his longtime friend and colleague, the famous criminologist Herr Doktor Gross. The unhurried nature of the investigation affects the pacing of the book. Readers intrigued by the slightly exotic setting of historical Vienna will not be deterred, but those looking for suspense and a faster pace may prefer Will Thomas’ Barker and Llewellyn series (The Black Hand, 2008), set in late-nineteenth-century England. Still, Jones’ novel boasts well-fleshed characters, a good sense of place, and solid plotting—all signs of series potential. This one bears watching. --Jessica Moyer