This is the fifth book in Frank Tallis’ detective series, set at the beginning of the 20th century. Someone is preying on women, leaving their bodies in the parks and gardens of Vienna. Detective Inspector Rheinhardt and Dr Max Liebermann investigate in their different ways, one using laborious police work, the other psychology, to uncover the perpetrator.
Written mainly in the third person, there is the occasional chapter in the first person, written as a diary, and thus an explanation of his actions, by the murderer himself. But anyone who is an avid crime reader will see the final twist coming from the point the obvious clue is given.
Frank Tallis obviously does his research, but despite that, and despite Lieberman wondering, ‘We Viennese. What will become of us?’ throughout the book, I did not get the feeling of hysterical gaiety I associate withVienna at the fin-de-siècle. The book is more solemn than that, with few, if any, light touches. Intelligently written, with good descriptions, I found the dialogue stilted. However, the BBC have bought the film rights to the previous novel, and I imagine this whole series would make very good viewing.