cover image The Silence

The Silence

J. Sydney Jones. Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8084-0

Jones vividly evokes 1900 Vienna under the leadership of its notorious anti-Semitic mayor, Karl Lueger, in his splendid third whodunit featuring attorney Karl Werthen and criminologist Hanns Gross (after 2010’s Requiem in Vienna). Wealthy industrialist Karl Wittgenstein asks Werthen to track down his son, Hans, who manages mining operations for him and who hasn’t shown up for work in a week. Wittgenstein, who won’t admit to being worried, wants Werthen to discreetly look into his son’s whereabouts to reassure his wife. The evidence suggests that Hans has merely ditched a job he never enjoyed, but as Werthen starts asking basic questions, the lawyer comes to wonder whether Hans’s low-pressure position might be tied to rumors of municipal corruption that may have been the reason for the suicide of a councilman friendly with Lueger. Jones poses a challenging puzzle for his savvy investigator while subtly portraying the growing threat to Europe’s Jews. Agent: the John Talbot Agency. (Jan.)