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The Master of the Day of Judgement Paperback – 5 Sep 1994


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (5 Sep 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002730065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002730068
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.4 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,091,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By monica on 10 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable little book. I read it several days ago and haven't quite been able to shake it off.

A famous actor, after recounting for his guests a tale of two inexplicable suicides, goes to his garden pavilion and shoots himself. One of those guests is Baron von Yosch, who soon is accused of imparting information that led to the act. The Baron, who narrates the story, feels overwhelmed by guilt, and when his word of honour is seemingly proved a sham he himself considers suicide. This is Vienna in 1909: an officer and a gentleman knew the honourable way out. Much of the book tells of his and his friends' attempt to solve the mystery of a string of suicides that have common factors. Eventually they do so.

The book is well-written and well-constructed. So many scenes and details are striking and linger in the memory: the connoisseur money-lender, the inane conversation about music, the villain too fat to stir from his home, the Baron's hallucination, and his enigmatic saviour.

It's also a provocative book, in a way a study of the psychology of guilt: of why and when we acknowledge guilt--truly or falsely--or deny it or simply confabulate. For me it also raised questions about credulity and story-telling; despite Perutz's indirect but clear warnings, I found myself readily believing in the fantastic elements of the story and reluctant to credit what was (almost certainly) the underlying truth of it. A very good book indeed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Leo Perutz was a master story teller, and deserves to be much better known. The Master of the Day of Judgement turns around a number of mysterious suicides in 1909 Vienna. Initially, it reads like a well crafted European murder mystery, with an upper class setting. Then towards the end, the story moves into unexpected territory--as Perutz's stories often do! It turns out to be rather more than the well-crafted murder mystery that you thought you were reading.
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