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The Keeper Of Hands (2013)

by J. Sydney Jones(Favorite Author)
3.58 of 5 Votes: 5
0727882694 (ISBN13: 9780727882691)
Severn House Publishers
Karl Werthen (Viennese) Mystery
review 1: I'm sad I have to wait a while for the next in the series! These mysteries are clearly written by someone who knows Vienna well, and that's what I love most about them. This one deals with murdered prostitutes and features many members of Viennese literary society, including Arthur Schnitzler and Bertha von Suttner. Franz Ferdinand is also back, which is becoming increasingly interesting as 1914 draws nearer (but is still a ways off).I do wonder a bit about the acceptance of emancipated women in this series, but I enjoy their antics, so I'm not overly concerned with that bit of accuracy. Bonus points for this book mentioning Hollabrunn and the Weinviertel on more than one occasion.
review 2: It is the year in which Sigmund Freud publishes the Psychopathology
... more of Everyday Life.The year Hans Gross publishes his classic Encyclopedia of Criminology.The year Gustav Klimt paints Judith and the Head of Holofernes.A year in which Gustav Mahler holds sway as director of the Imperial Opera.And the year in which J. Sydney Jones has set the fourth book in his splendid Viennese Mystery Series, The Keeper of Hands.It is 1901 – and Vienna is at the height of its cultural renaissance.There are many things to like about Jones’s books, not the least of which is his ability to weave historical characters into a seamless narrative centered about a character of his own invention.That character, Karl Werthen, is a lawyer, who first appears as a young bachelor in The Empty Mirror.In that book, and in the subsequent ones, (Requiem in Vienna and The Silence) Jones teams Werthen up with Gross, now a nearly-forgotten figure, but still held, among the cognoscenti, to be the father of modern criminal investigation. As The Keeper of Hands begins, Werthen has settled into a comfortable married life with his wife, Berthe, and his infant daughter, Frieda.Thirteen years later, Austria would be plunged into the first of two great wars, experiences from which she would never entirely recover.But that time is not yet.The Vienna that Jones preserves for us, like an insect caught in amber, is of an earlier, more hopeful, more optimistic time. It is, however, a time in which, for all of its charm, the seeds of future destruction are being sown.Social injustice is rampant. Anti Semitism is rife.In this outing, Jones’s characters include the journalist, Felix Salten, the controversial playwright, Arthur Schnitzler, and a brothel keeper by the name of Josephine Mutzenbacher.And, of the three, the most familiar to German-speaking readers of today, will be Mutzenbacher.Josephine Mutzenbacher – The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself became an erotic classic, sold more than three million copies, was translated into ten languages and became the subject of numerous films, theater productions, parodies, and university courses, as well as two sequels.It’s an impressive legacy for an author who never existed and for a book whose true author was probably Salten.In The Keeper of Hands (I’m not going to spoil it by telling you the origins of the title) Werthen is initially called upon to solve two mysteries at the same time: the murder of a nineteen-year-old prostitute and a violent assault on the playwright, but he soon finds himself caught in a web of espionage and secrets of state.Once again, Jones has delivered an action-packed and thoroughly engaging book – and he’s done it in a mere two-hundred-and-fifty-six pages.You can read The Keeper of Hands as a standalone, but if you are, as yet, unfamiliar with Jones’s work, I strongly suggest you start with the first book in his series.You’ll be glad you did. less
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anybody who has ever lived in Wien will really enjoy this!
too many people to keep track of.
Good detective story.
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