The Woman from Bratislava (Eurocrime) Paperback – 30 Jul 2009
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'One of Denmark's top crime writers' - The Sunday Times on The Serbian Dane
About the Author
Leif Davidsen is a Danish journalist and the author of a number of best-selling suspense novels. He has worked for many years for Danish radio and television as a foreign correspondent and editor of foreign news, specializing in Russian, East and Central European affairs.
Top customer reviews
the author's best novel to date.
It is set in 1999 against the backdrop of Nato forces air
strikes on Yugoslavia. Teddy Pedersen,an academic modern
historian,whilst in Bratislava has an unexpected encounter
with a Croatian woman,who turns out to be his half-sister.
Their father was a Danish SS Officer who fought for the Nazis.
Meanwhile in Denmark,Teddy's sister,Irma, has been arrested on the
allegation of being a spy for the East German Stasi.Per Toftlund
(who featured in Davidsen's previous novel)leads the investigation
The story develops by focusing in turn on the three main characters,
Teddy,Irma and Per,and takes us to Poland and Albania. It gives
insights into the Balkan conflict and how post-war the Danes treated
Nazi sympathizers--but importantly it remains a rich and thoroughly
The WfB at times reads like a lesson in political history and this sometimes detracts from the pace of, what should be, a spy thriller. There is fairly detailed analysis of the political and cultural background of denmark, poland, east germany, russia, the baltic and balkan regions much of which proves to be filler. the focus is further lessened by there being three different viwpoints - Teddy, Per and Irma and a plot that unravels too conveniently at times. Teddy is the best character by miles, Toftlund doesn't really ring true and the other characters would be too light to make it into a Le Carre plot. The resolution is also rather less than satisfying leaving me (at least) with lots of questions and annoying loose ends. i really wanted to like it more. sorry.
Unfortunately, the novel starts slowly and you trust that he will soon get to the crux of the story. In my view, he fails to build a narrative which held my interest. I gave up 140 pages in. So my review isn't a complete one. I am always annoyed with myself when I choose a book which I decide not to finish. I would hesitate to recommend this novel.
Multiple locations, fair range of characters. Both handled well. The use of the "pictures" device imagined by Teddy works well and does add to the overall image. If this novel had ended at 320 pages, I would be more inclined to give it four out of five.
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