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Requiem in Vienna: A Viennese Mystery (Viennese Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

J. Sydney Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

"What Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did for Victorian London and Caleb Carr did for old New York, Sydney Jones does for historic Vienna."

Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of the Queen Elizabeth I mystery series
At first it seemed like a series of accidents plagued Vienna’s Court Opera. But after a singer is killed during rehearsals of a new production, the evidence suggests something much more dangerous. Someone is trying to murder the famed conductor and composer Gustav Mahler. Worse, Mahler might not be the first musical genius to be dispatched by this unknown killer.
Alma Schindler, one of Mahler's many would-be mistresses, asks the lawyer and aspiring private investigator Karl Werthen to help stop the attacks. With his new wife, Berthe, and his old friend, the criminologist Hanns Gross, Werthen delves into Vienna's rich society of musicians to discover the identity of the person who has targeted one of Austria's best-known artists.
Set during the peak of Vienna’s cultural renaissance and featuring some of the city's most colorful residents, Requiem in Vienna is a perfect historical fiction. Rich in description and populated by vivid characters, this is a mystery that will leave readers guessing until the very last moment.

Product Description


"Jones's absorbing whodunit succeeds both as a mystery and as a fascinating portrait of a traditional society in ferment. Jones delivers a meaty historical that bodes well for further adventures." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)" --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

J. SYDNEY JONES is the author of thirteen books, including "The Empty Mirror," the first in the Viennese Mystery series, the nonfiction "Hitler in Vienna, 1907-1913," the guidebooks "Viennawalks "and "Vienna Inside-Out," and the suspense novel "Time of the Wolf. "He currently lives near Santa Cruz, California. For more information, visit

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 421 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (2 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003E74A16
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #62,149 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

J. Sydney Jones is the author of twelve books, including the first two critically acclaimed installments of the Viennese Mystery series, THE EMPTY MIRROR (2009) and REQUIEM IN VIENNA (2010). A long-time resident of Vienna, he currently lives near Santa Cruz, California.

Visit the author at his homepage, and at his blog, Scene of the Crime,

Here's what the critics are saying about REQUIEM IN VIENNA:

A rich, beautifully written historical mystery...first class.

--Booklist (starred review)

Sophisticated entertainment of a very high caliber.--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Jones's fine second Viennese mystery ... smoothly blends a compelling period whodunit with bountiful cultural and social details. -- Publishers Weekly

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
While reading this novel several years ago, I found myself sitting in the home of Gustav Mahler, current conductor at the Vienna Court Opera House, near a glorious Bosendorfer grand piano. A tall woman dressed in a long white gown is playing Bach. It is the summer of 1899.

Advokat Karl Werthen, one of the few fictional characters in Jones' Viennese mysteries, is looking into a series of incidents surrounding Mahler's current performances...a young mezzo soprano crushed by a fallen asbestos curtain and a suspicious hanging death of the third violinist. Werthen has been hired by a charming Alma Schindler to investigate these incidents and more personal attacks against Gustav Mahler, the renown composer and youngest conductor at the Hofoper. Werthen is soon joined by his sidekick in Jones' first Viennese mystery The Empty Mirror, the real-life Dr. Hanns Gross, the father of modern criminology.

The action, the tour of fin de siecle Vienna, begins at the funeral of Johann Strauss at the Zentralfriedhof, the Central Cemetary, the largest and most famous of Vienna's almost fifty cemetaries. The funeral cortege has consisted of eight carriages of flowers. the hearse drawn by four gray Lippizanners.

Later Werthen and Gross interview the likely suspects. The men behind the curtain: Hans Richter, the former conductor at the Hofoper; Leitner, the financial director; and Siegfried Blauer, the stage manager.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb historical mystery 5 Feb. 2010
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
In 1899 at the Vienna Court Opera, a blazing curtain falls from above barely missing the famous director Gustav Mahler, but hits and kills a performer standing near the renowned composer-conductor. This is not the first incident apparently aimed at Gustav though this is the first deadly assault.

Private inquirer Karl Werthen is hired to keep Mahler safe and uncover who the stalker is before this person succeeds in his or her deadly intent. With his pregnant wife Berthe insisting on helping Karl, he also asks criminologist Hanns Gross to join the investigation into the deadly incident, previous threats and new accidental attacks that seem to target Mahler. Their inquiry leads to music rivalries starting with the composer Richard Wagner and with anti-Semitism though Mahler is a former Jew.

Requiem in Vienna is a superb historical mystery that uses the terrific private investigation as a springboard to present life in Vienna at the turn of the last century. The story line is fast-paced as Karl worries about his beloved Berthe who insists on being part of the inquiry team while working through the mud of the music world, which proves no waltz. Fans who prefer a strong historical presence in their mysteries will enjoy this delightful whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific historical research 9 Feb. 2010
By Tom Ovens - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Requiem in Vienna, the second in Mr. Jones' Viennese Mystery series, shows once again the same thorough, historical grounding of fin de siecle Vienna. He shows a surer grasp of his characters, which is natural since he, too, is getting to know them better. Gross' ego and self confidence contrasts nicely with Werthen's lack of experience in the investigation game. Werthen and his wife Berthe are evolving as well, showing a more complex dynamic in their relationship. The cast of notables appear in a very logical way. The famous are not just forced into a scene. To us, especially Americans, the historical figures of the Vienna of the day are pretty much unknown. So it is good to learn of Alma Mahler, whose own history is better than fiction, and of Karl Kraus, who just about single handedly wrote his literary newletter, Die Fackel/The Torch for thirty years and comes across as a delightful combination of Mark Twain and San Francisco's Herb Caen. Kraus, especially, should be able to pop up in succeeding stories since he seems to have his finger on the pulse of society. Sorting out which character is historical and learning a bit more of them is most enjoyable and gives an added bonus to the story. The mystery itself (which does its job of keeping us guessing until the end) gives the author opportunity to throw in some wonderful historical tid-bits such as Brahms' musical coding, the inner workings of the Opera of the time, the last days of Johanne Strauss. A lot of serious research was done for this. For "Vienna-philes" it's another journey back to a lost world. Hopefully, there will be more.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read 15 Feb. 2010
By Cheryl Koch - Published on
Famous music composer and conductor, Gustav Mahler is preparing for a new musical production. Unfortunately, someone does not want the show to go on. Maestro Mahler's leading lady and lover becomes the victim of a horrible accident on set during rehearsals. It seems that Mahler was the target. One of Mahler's other lover's Alma Schindler fears for Mahler's life. She turns to private investigator, Karl Werthen for help. Mr. Werthen brings his old friend and criminologist, Hanns Gross in on the case. Together Werthen and Gross hope to solve the mystery before it is too late.

Requiem in Vienna is the second book in the Viennese mystery series. It can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone novel. As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but feel hints of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The author of the famed Sherlock Holmes mysteries. This is a good thing, because I really loved Sherlock Holmes stories. This was one of my reasons for liking this genre. It is refreshing to find another author who could rise to the level of Sir Doyle. Mr. Jones brought to life the city of Vienna as well as his characters and storyline. This book draws you in bit by bit. I like that Mr. Jones incorporates fiction with one or two real people. True mystery fans will fall in love with this I did!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fraternal twins 23 Feb. 2012
By Wadu Eyno - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One artist "borrows" from another. Where is the line between "being inspired by" and plagiarizing?

This engaging question pervades the atmosphere of this well-plotted, entertaining book. The great composer Gustav Mahler appears to be in danger --- and his alleged penchant for "borrowing" from others may lie behind attempts on his life.

Interestingly, the engaging question pervades the atmosphere of this book also in another sense. The myriad similarities between "Requiem" and the wonderful Lieberman-Reinhardt series of Frank Tallis were the 800-pound gorilla in the room as I turned every page of "Requiem." Consider the following examples (with detailed differences in parentheses).

TIME AND PLACE: fin de siecle Vienna.

PROTAGONISTS: a youngish, Jewish amateur sleuth working with an older, Catholic professional crime fighter. (Tallis's amateur is a psychoanalyst, Jones's a lawyer; Tallis's pro is a policemen, Jones's a criminologist.)

SUPPORTING CAST: a strong, smart woman who is the romantic interest of the junior sleuth. (Tallis's femme is a former patient who is an aspiring hematologist; Jones's is the amateur's wife.)

"SPICE IN THE STEW": a preoccupation with food, especially on the part of the older pro in both series. (Tallis specializes in pastry, Jones in main courses.)

The Tallis books are better literature than "Requiem," but both Tallis's and Jones's books all share several laudable qualities. They are all historically accurate and offer the reader a welcome view of the history, geography, and culture in fin de siecle Vienna. All of the books are well-plotted, with a slight edge to Jones in terms of the underlying mystery.

So, I recommend "Requiem" on its own merits --- and I certainly recommend any one of the Tallis books! As far as the engaging question that I started with --- well that's another kind of "spice" in the "stew."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jones' Second Viennese Mystery Is A Winner 20 Aug. 2011
By Philip R. Heath - Published on
Requiem in Vienna is J. Sydney Jones' second novel featuring Dr. Hans Gross and Karl Werthen - the Austrian version of Holmes and Watson if you were. Set at the turn of the 20th Century Werthen is enlisted by the young lady Alma Schindler to look into a series of "accidents" involving Gustav Mahler. Schindler believes these to be more than mere coincidence. Werthen having expanded his law practice beyond wills and trusts to now also include criminal law and private inquiries takes the case. After his initial interview with Mahler it is Mahler who then hires Werthen to handle some amendments to his will. Both are convinced that the accidents are merely that. However the next one gets Mahler's and Werthen's attention while Hans Gross pays Werthen a visit during his leave from Frans Joseph University where he is setting up a department of criminology. Together with Werthen's wife Berthe Meisner they follow an interesting trail through the contentious world of Vienna's music scene of the day in an attempt to discover who is making these attempts on Mahler's life. Jones does a good job of pacing the novel so that readers will stay interested but not be likely to guess the ending.

There are many similarities to Jones' prior novel The Empty Mirror. Readers will find liberal use of German words in the text. If you read The Empty Mirror or any of Frank Talis' novels, you will find Requiem in Vienna on par. Jones uses many real figures from historic Vienna such as Hans Rott and Johann Strauss in additional to Mahler and Gross. However I was pleased that Jones tightened up his narrative this time. The historical angle didn't feel as forced as it did in The Empty Mirror. The slowly building boil of Anti-Semitism present in both Jones and Talis' novels also plays an important part in the story.

This second installment gives hope that Werthen and Gross will be staples for years to come in Viennese mysteries. I look forward to seeing what Jones comes up with next time.

Overall: B+
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