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The Quiet Twin,
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This review is from: The Quiet Twin (Paperback)
This book is set around a group of apartment buildings in Vienna, during October and November 1939. The characters range from a doctor, a disgraced professor and his niece, a mime artist, a janitor, a young hunchbacked girl and a Japanese trumpeter, amongst others. In other words, a cross section of people, living side by side in dangerous times and many with secrets to hide. Dr Beer is asked to visit the disgraced professor, Speckstein, who asks him to investigate the murder of his dog. Beer becomes aware of a series of murders and attacks which have taken place near to his apartment building and reluctantly becomes involved in the police investigation, although the murders are really incidental to the real story, which is that of the characters. Becoming involved with the police at that time, in that place, is a dangerous thing to be and Beer tries desperately to keep his private life private, while becoming more and more embroiled in the police enquiry. The author tells this story so vividly that I found it easy to imagine the windows overlooking the courtyards, the nosy neighbours turned informers who could know something which could be dangerous. You can feel the menace of uniforms, especially in an excellent scene set during a party effectively gate crashed by members of the party, as war entered the lives of normal people. Dr Beer is a sympathetic and very believable hero. Altogether a wonderful book, very atmospheric and brilliantly written. After the excellent "Pavel and I" you often worry whether an author will disappoint with a second book, especially when the debut novel is so good. There was no disappointment here, if anything this surpassed his first effort and I recommend it highly.