cover image A Matter of Breeding: A Viennese Mystery

A Matter of Breeding: A Viennese Mystery

J. Sydney Jones. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8380-3

A visit to Vienna by Bram Stoker in 1901 highlights Jones’s solid fifth whodunit featuring lawyer Karl Werthen and real-life criminologist pioneer Hanns Gross (after 2013’s The Keeper of Hands). Stoker, after being dogged for months by a stalker who follows him from England to Austria, specifically requests Werthen’s protection during his visit. The Dracula author insists on helping Werthen and Gross investigate the deaths of three young women seemingly killed by a vampire. Their first suspect is radical right-wing politician Christian von Hobarty, who employed one of the victims, Ursula Klein, as a servant. Stoker is intrigued that “Hobarty” is an anagram for Bathory, the name of a bloodthirsty 16th-century murderess. Jones tosses in a horse-breeding scandal, handled by Werthen’s capable wife, Berthe Meisner, at Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s direct request. The result is one of the series’ best at combining plot and historical background. Agent: John Talbot, Talbot Fortune Agency. (July)