Third Place, The
A Viennese Historical Mystery
by J, Sydney Jones
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 01 Oct 2015 | Archive Date 06 Sep 2015
Severn House, Severn House Publishers
March, 1902. When Herr Karl, head waiter of the Café Burg, is found dead at the foot of the Maria Theresa monument, it is assumed he slipped on the ice and hit his head. However, a witness has come forward who says otherwise, and private enquiries agent Karl Werthen is hired to investigate.
At the same time, Werthen is commissioned to locate a missing letter from the emperor to his mistress. Franz Josef is desperate for the letter not to fall into the wrong hands – but what incendiary information does it contain?
As Werthen and his colleague, renowned criminologist Dr Hanns Gross, pursue their investigations, it becomes increasingly clear that there is a connection between the two cases – and that the future of the empire may be at stake.
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Average rating from 4 members
This is really good read. The setting is charming and I use the word to describe the way the author embeds the whole story in a faithful attention to the period and place. It is well written and the plot is well constructed. The use of the European political,dynamics of the time is well done with its hints of worse to come for the Hapsburg court. The reader might be lulled into thinking the end will be predictable but that would be unwise. Nothing could be further from the truth as an unexpected twist to the story ensures a surprise at the end.
When Herr, head waiter of the Café Burg, is found dead and thought that he slipped on the ice and hit his head. But a witness comes forward and agent Werthen is hired to investigate while he is also commissioned to locate a missing letter. Franz Josef doesn't want the letter to fall into the wrong hands. As Werthen and Dr Hanns Gross pursue their investigations becoming increasingly clear that there is a connection between the two cases . I love this book, a real page turner! Couldn't put it down until I finished this book. Will recommended to other readers!
This sixth book in the Viennese Mystery series is a suspenseful mystery incorporating Viennese café culture and society. The author weaves a tale of murder, assassination, and terrorism against the turn-of-the-century clash of old and gentile vs. new and brash. The author's descriptions of characters and settings brings this era to life and he shares his knowledge of Vienna in such a unique way that I feel as if I'd strolled the Ringstrasse myself. Berthe and Karl Werthen along with Dr, Gross have become familiar characters just like old friends. The antecedents of World War I are in this book, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in this period or anyone looking for a good historical mystery.
I see there are previous novels in this series of mysteries which take place in Vienna but this is the first for me. The author did a wonderful job of giving the novel the feel of a Vienna just turning the corner into a new century by showing scientific advancements for 1902 and yet keeping the traditions familiar to citizens of that beautiful city. The third place, referenced in the title, is the coffeehouse Viennese men select as their place of relaxation. First is the home, second is work, third is the coffeehouse with regular customers being treated in much the same way as members of the private clubs available to wealthy Englishmen in this same time period. Each coffeehouse has its own Herr Ober, the head waiter and majordomo who controls everything that goes on in the restaurant including all the employees. One works himself up to the position of Herr Ober, comes up through the ranks and learns along the way how to please customers and just maybe how to line his pockets without anyone being the wiser. Herr Karl, Herr Ober of the Café Burg, has a nasty accident on his way home one evening so the staff is waiting to see who will be promoted into his vacant position. Except that Advokat Werthen has been approached by someone who claims to have seen what really happened to Her Karl and he wants the lawyer to do some investigating. Just as Werthen is making some progress he is summoned by Prince Montenuovo - and by implication by Emperor Franz Josef - to join forces with his investigating partner Dr. Hanns Gross to solve a mystery of a completely different sort. A Viennese citizen does not say no to the Emperor. I appreciated the easy way the author had of incorporating all the political turmoil existing in Austria and the rest of Europe within the times of this mystery. Naturally politics played a large part in what was going on in one of the mystery plots. I also enjoyed watching that second mystery unfold from the viewpoint of the criminal. By the time both investigations were in full swing they were featuring not just Gross and Werthen, but also Werthen's wife, Berthe Meisner. This trio presented the only slightly off kilter portion of the novel for me because so many unlikely situations had to be manufactured to give a prominent position to the investigative talent of Berthe Meisner just for what seemed to me the sake of gender equality. Aside from that, I enjoyed this novel and appreciated the historical information which was presented in such a natural way that I learned things without even being aware of it. I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley.
This is the author's 6th Viennese mysteries. Well up to his usual high standard. He has taken an important time in history which led up to the start of the 1st World War. After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Countess Sophie Chotek on a visit to Sarajevo. Austria and Hungary declared war on Serbia, who had an ally in Russia. The book starts with the murder of a head waiter in an Austrian coffee house and develops into an assassination attempt on Emperor Franz Joseph. Fellow investigator Advokat Karl Werthen and criminologist Dr. Hans Gross are asked to help. Highly recommended. The author always picks a title with a meaning. The third way is the coffee house, following the first way is Home and the second way is Work.. See my full review on the Euro-Crime website.