Sins of the Father

Written by Stephen Weeks
Review by Francesca Pelaccia

Prague socialite Beatrix (Trixie) von Falklenburg is called in by the police to assist in the murder investigation of a headless man found on a funicular railway. He also happens to have her phone number on him, which adds to the mystery. Soon, Trixie is caught up in the world of magicians in order to solve the murder. But then she is surprisingly summoned by the Hapsburg Emperor Franz Josef I. He asks her to quietly investigate whether his son, the Crown Prince Rudolph, tried to kill him during a hunting exercise before taking his own life and that of his mistress nineteen years before in 1889. What appear to be two separate investigations slowly come together. Along the way, however, magicians and other characters are murdered, to hide their involvement or knowledge of the Crown Prince’s suicide, or to gain from it.

Sins of the Father, a Countess of Prague Mystery, is complex, with an overload of characters that are often difficult to keep straight. Settings are also varied but intricately detailed, bringing to life the era as the characters and their interactions illustrate the social mores and statuses of the time. The novel, however, is a delight to read mainly because of Trixie’s wit and sense of humor and fun.