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Crime at Mayerling: The Life and Death of Mary Vetsera (Studies in Austrian Literature, Culture & Thought: Translation) Paperback – 1 Jan 1994
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From the Back Cover
Crime at Mayerling deals with two of the most sensational crimes committed during the past century. Although separated in time by a hundred years, they are inextricably connected. In January 1889 the corpses of Archduke Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, and of Baroness Mary Vetsera were discovered in the prince's hunting lodge at Mayerling, near Vienna. In December 1992 Mary's remains were stolen from a cemetery in the same area. For decades, scientists and historians had been trying to solve the mystery of what had happened at Mayerling. An Austrian "Mayerling buff" felt compelled to reach an explanation in his own way: he secretly opened the grave of Baroness Vetsera at night, stole the coffin with her remains, and had them examined by forensic physicians and other specialists. Georg Markus, a Viennese author and journalist, discovered the desecration of the grave, reported it to the police, and obtained for his newspaper the exclusive rights to the story. His reporting led to an early solution of the case. There has been considerable speculation about the crime at Mayerling for over a century. Now, for the first time, the way Mary Vetsera died can be precisely reconstructed, providing information that contributes to a final resolution of the mystery.
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And it is really an must-have for people who are interested in the Mayerling Drama or about Mary Vetsera.
The reason i didn't give it 5 stars is because i found it difficult to read the footnotes (Which are in German, the original language the book was written in). I would be a lot easier if there was made footnotes to explain them. However it was also easily to find in an online translator.
I was also disappointed by the fact that there was so little written about Ms Vetsera's life. While there is written enough about Rudolf's life. I had hoped for more details about Mary's life. 'Cause the subject on Mary's life is almost only her death.
If you're interest in Mayerling, i really recommend reading this book. It's really worth it.
When you start reading, it's hard to lay the book aside. Also for people who own or have read many other books about Rudolf, Mary of Mayerling. It doesn't include shocking new facts. But the book is well written and i don't think it will disappoint in this fact, also the pictures are very lovely in this book!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story of the wanderings of Mary Vetsera's corpse are a separate, startling story, told at first-hand by the journalist who was approached by the nut case that dug her up. I guess that makes two remarkable stories in one book.
This is one of the few translated to English books about the murder-suicide (suicide pact, to be precise) of Rudolf, the Hapsburg Crown Prince and his mistress Marie "Mary" Vetsera, and for that reason alone is to be recommended. The affair, impulsive and reckless on both sides, and the trajectory of events in late 1888 to January 1889 are re-examined, along with the 1991 exhumation of Vetsera's remains by a man obsessed with the case.
The research is good, but in general the discussions are a rehashing of the various theories that circulated immediately following the tragedy. Some (that Marie Vetsera was pregnant) are dubious, if one takes into consideration the generally acknowledged timeline of events; others, such as assassination, also conflict with the known evidence. What does come through the pages is that Rudolf was a thoughtful and progressive, but selfish and hedonistic, depressive who was both afraid of continuing his current life and also fearful of committing suicide alone. Despite the author's speculation about what kind of ruler Rudolf would have become, or that the gathering maelstrom of European politics might have been altered due to his more liberal and progressive tendencies, in the end we are left with a man whose family background and own character let his talents go to waste. Having broached suicide with both his wife and his favored mistress, he managed to persuade a headstrong, socially ambitious but still naive teenager, caught up in the whirlwind of an affair that she knew would have no happy ending for her, into romanticizing suicide and becoming his companion in death. This book does not provide any new, incontrovertible evidence that puts the competing theories to rest, but it does put another nail into the coffin of the myth of the epic romance, as has been depicted on screen.
The major selling point here is that the author, Georg Markus, was literally on the front lines of the latest twist in the Mayerling story. In 1991, Helmut Flatzelsteiner, in his obsession with the case, removed the remains of Mary Vetsera from her grave in Heiligenkreuz. Markus became involved in 1993 when Flatzelsteiner tried to sell the story to various media outlets. His book is an account these events as well as a breakdown of the 1889 murder/suicide.
Not to say the book isn't without its shortcomings. It was published in 1993, ahead of the examination reports on Mary's remains. One of the most debated unknowns of Mayerling is how Mary died. Was she murdered as part of a clandestine suicide agreement? Was she the victim of a botched abortion? Or was she an unlucky bystander, the victim of an assassin sent to dispatch her lover? The theories are endless and unfortunately, Markus' book gives us no additional clues to puzzle over.
Crime at Mayerling is the most recently published nonfiction available in the United States. It's a sad truth considering the book is nearly two decades old. Still, it is the most concise version of the story and though I don't think it the best volume for those already familiar with the case, it is by far the best primer available regarding the mystery.