cover image The Keeper of Hands: 
A Viennese Mysteries Novel

The Keeper of Hands: A Viennese Mysteries Novel

J. Sydney Jones. Severn, $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8269-1

The discovery of the nude and strangled corpse of a 19-year-old prostitute known as Mitzi propels Jones’s masterful fourth mystery set in early-20th-century Vienna (after 2011’s The Silence). Josephine Mutzenbacher, Mitzi’s madam, hires Hans Gross, the real-life pioneering criminologist, and Karl Werthen, a private enquiry agent and lawyer, to investigate. Werthen’s discovery of a letter that Mitzi wrote in code and hid in a Bible—specifically in the part of the Book of Joshua that refers to the harlot Rahab concealing Israelite spies—suggests that the victim may also have been involved in the world’s second-oldest profession. Another woman’s murder raises the stakes. Werthen and Gross’s inquiries come to the notice of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose revelations about conflict between the country’s different intelligence services add another dimension to the case. Top-notch detecting and characterizations bolster the intricate plot. Agent: John Talbot, Talbot Fortune Agency. (July)