Budapest Noir

Vilmos Kondor, trans. from the Hungarian by Paul Olchváry. Harper, $13.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-185939-7
Set in the fall of 1936, Hungarian author Kondor’s atmospheric debut introduces Zsigmond Gordon, the crime reporter for the Evening, a Budapest newspaper. Gordon is less interested in covering the funeral of real-life Hungarian prime minister Gyula Gömbös (who had been “a sincere friend of Italy. And, of course, of Mussolini. And Hitler”) than in investigating the murder of a young prostitute found on a seedy neighborhood street with a Jewish prayer book in her purse. Gordon works his contacts in the police force, including homicide head Vladimir Gellért, who happens to possess a photo of the victim naked, and sleuths his way into the cigarette-littered lair of a voluptuous courtesan known as Red Margo. In classic noir fashion, he even takes a savage beating and keeps on ticking. Fans of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series (Field Gray, etc.) will find a lot to like. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-06-185940-3
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-209882-5
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