Death and the Maiden – Frank Tallis

I’ve been a big fan of this series of early 20th century Vienna-set murder mysteries since I picked up Mortal Mischief in 2006. This latest book involves an apparent suicide that turns out to be a murder, and as the victim is an opera singer, the action brings in some major figures of the time – the Mayor, the Emperor Franz-Josef, and far more importantly, the divine Gustav Mahler, who makes a number of significant appearances. Now that might be regarded as a good enough reason for reading this book, but there’s a lot more to enjoy.

Max Liebermann finally gets on with his relationship with Amelia Lydgate, to the relief of all concerned[1]. Oskar Rheinhardt realises in time that sometimes there are more important things than solving the case. Freud makes his usual appearances. There’s the usual explicit descriptions of Viennese pastries. And did I mention Mahler? He’s in it quite a lot[2].

I enjoyed this a lot – if you haven’t read the earlier books in the series, there’s no harm in starting here.

[1] Not least the readers who’ve been shouting “get on with it, already” for the last three books or so
[2] Given that I got moderately excited when he was just described as doing a bit of conducting in the first book in the series, you’ll just have to imagine my reaction to this…

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