Darkness Rising – Frank Tallis

This is the fourth book in the series which began with Mortal Mischief, which I wrote about in 2006. It seems I neglected to mention the second and third in the series[1], but here we go with the latest one anyway. Like the Fandorin book I reviewed earlier, this came out early this year, but I’ve only just caught up with it.

There’s a lot to enjoy in this one. There’s the expected series of gruesome murders, and evidence that leads the modern reader to suspect what’s going on (or at least what someone wants people to think is going on) a long time before Max Liebermann puts it together. Someone, or something is tearing the heads from the bodies of people who are hostile to Vienna’s Jewish community. Someone or something with enormous strength that always leaves lots of mud behind it. And strange noises are reported as coming from a supposedly empty attic, which is found to contain what would appear to be a fully operational alchemist’s laboratory.

It’s only when Liebermann takes a trip to Prague that he learns what most readers will have been thinking about for quite a while: Rabbi Lowe and the Golem of Prague. Surely this couldn’t be happening in early 20th Centrury Vienna?

Tied in with all this, we get more trials and tribulations in Liebermann’s own life – hostility to Jews is growing in Vienna, and for a time, it looks like he could lose his job…

As generally happens in this sort of story, Liebermann finds himself in deadly peril, and only escapes by a whisker. All good fun, and with the usual guest appearance from Freud.

[1] I may correct that later…