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Silence: A Viennese Mystery Hardcover – Dec 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers (Dec 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727880845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727880840
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 14.6 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #831,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d1ecd80) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d2b2240) out of 5 stars Mystery Novel Set in 1900 Vienna Oct. 23 2011
By Barbara J. Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm delighted that J. Sydney Jones sent a PDF of this book to me for review. It is the third in a series of mystery novels set in historic Vienna, a city Jones lived in for some time years ago. The fact that I hadn't read the first two was no barrier to enjoyment of this one, but certainly convinced me that I must read the others very soon. They are, in order: The Empty Mirror and Requiem in Vienna, both published last year. I should add that these are print books with gorgeous covers appropriate to the setting.

Attorney and private inquiries agent (private detective) Karl Werthen is the protagonist but by no means alone in his investigations. His wife Berthe is one of my favorite characters, so level-headed, patient, and fully invested in each case. She gives him fresh eyes and good ideas. Another partner in solving the crime is a real person, Dr. Hanns Gross who was the father of criminology. He is gruff and abrupt with people but has a better grasp of the issues than anyone else.

In addition to his case, Werthen is beset by family squabbles involving his orthodox father-in-law, and his snobbish parents who apparently don't credit Werthen and his wife with the good sense to take care of their baby daughter, the apple of Werthen's eye. Leave it to the grandparents to muddy the waters when the first grandchild is born.

Werthen is at first hired to find a wealthy family's oldest son. As he goes to their mansion we learn one of the many things about 1900 Vienna that make this book so charming and interesting to read. The wife has a migraine, so city workers have been dispatched to spread straw on the street to muffle the sound of horses' hooves. There are descriptions of homes, the architecture of city buildings, the sounds and smells of the city, and the Vienna Woods. We also learn of the anti-Semitism rampant in the city so long before WW II, and the great gulf between the rich and the poor.

At the same time, a councilman who is second in power only to Mayor Karl Lueger (who has visions of undermining the rule of Emperor Franz Josef) has apparently committed suicide in his office. Werthen becomes involved in that case as well and finds himself and his family in great danger.

Two of my favorite characters are two young boys, one a son of the wealthy family, the other a street urchin that Werthen's legal assistant wants to adopt. The boys become unlikely friends. I liked both of them immensely.

I find it difficult to tell you much about the story, partly because there are several plotlines, but also because I don't want to give anything away. Let me just say that it is a great story told by an author who is capable of putting the reader in 1900 Vienna (so much so that I was startled when a horn honked outside my house), and the characters are ones that you will enjoy getting to know. My next job is to order the first two books. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d5b60fc) out of 5 stars Great Mystery March 3 2013
By Irishgal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I first stumbled across J. Sydney Jones a few years ago and eagerly read his first two Karl Werthen works, "The Empty Mirror" and "Requiem in Vienna". I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a third installment in the series has been written (with #4 due out on June 1 of this year) and snatched it up during a recent trip to the local library. Though it has been nearly three years since I was last in his world, I quickly found myself drifting back to early 1900s Vienna and the world of Karl Werthen.

Married with a young child, Karl Werthen is a lawyer who doubles as an investigator. When an old client, Gustav Klimt, recommends a new case for Werthen to work on, he eagerly takes it on; a wealthy businessman's son has disappeared. Karl is quickly able to ascertain the son's whereabouts, but this seemingly easy case quickly embroils him in a deeper mystery involving two recent "suicides", the world of underhand politics, and double-dealing that may put his young family in danger. With the help of his old friend, Hanns Gross, Karl is determined to get to the bottom of what is going on, even if it results in the death of someone he holds dear.

It's easy to compare this series to Frank Tallis' Max Liebermann series; after all, the two both take place at the same time period in the city of Vienna. Where Tallis focuses on the use of psychology, featuring Sigmund Freud as a secondary character, Jones has chosen to focus on the real-life Hanns Gross as the "sidekick" to his protagonist. Both series are fabulous, and this book held me captive until the last page. I can't wait to read the next one!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d224f3c) out of 5 stars fin de siecle scandal and skullduggery Dec 31 2011
By Tom Ovens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is another top flight journey back into the lost world of fin-de-siecle Vienna. Jones has tossed in red herrings and false leads enough to make it a real whodunnit, all the while giving us another painless history lesson in introducing us to personages less well known such as the fascinating Wittgenstein family, the Austrian equivalent of the Rothschilds or Rockefellers; the popular, yet anti-Semitic, mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, who forms a surprising plot against the monarchy; and the acerbic journalist, Karl Kraus, the man who knew all the secrets of Viennese society. Throw in Gustav Klimt, Otto Wagner, and Viktor Adler. All and more are brought into the story in a believable manner. All these combine to paint a portrait of a time of emperors, of radical changes in art and thought, yet still these are people with motives that are as contemporary as any of today's political scandals. A good read that should leave readers wanting to do their own further research into this long gone era.
HASH(0x9d229f18) out of 5 stars Truth and Fiction in Old Vienna Dec 15 2011
By Leighton D. Gage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
La Belle Époque, (it translates as the beautiful era) was the name given, by the survivors of the Great War, to that period between May of 1871 and August of 1914. During those forty-three years, the European powers were at peace, and, looking back over the horrors and privations of the previous four years, it appeared, in retrospect, to have been a golden age.

And, partly, it was.

In the Habsburg Empire, Otto Wagner was designing marvelous buildings; Gustav Klimt was painting up a storm; Sigmund Freud was publishing his seminal works on psychoanalysis and Hans Gross was laying the foundations of modern criminology.

Yes, criminology.
Because the other side of the coin was that the Belle Époque was nowhere near as belle as the name suggests.

It was a time of great inequality, of religious prejudice, of stifling hierarchies, of outrageous privilege and of considerable murder and mayhem.

It is also the time in which J. Sydney Jones sets his novels, the most recent of which is THE SILENCE.

The Silence (Viennese Mysteries)

The place: Vienna; the year: 1900; the principal protagonist: a lawyer we've met twice before (in THE EMPTY MIRROR and REQUIEM IN VIENNA) by the name of Karl Werthen.

I'm certain Werthen is a creature of Jones' imagination, but I'm not entirely sure about many of the other characters. One of the author's admirable qualities is his splendid ability to mix fact and fiction, transforming every book in his series from a mere mystery to a primer of place and time.

And, speaking for myself, I'm never quite sure how much of any Jones book is true and how much is not.

In this installment, we reencounter Klimt and Gross (to name just two of his continuing characters) and meet Karl Lueger, the populist, anti-Semitic mayor of the city and Karl Wittgenstein, Austrian steel magnate, and friend of Andrew Carnegie.

And both the politician and the industrialist play principal roles.

The plot is complex and riveting. Towards the end of the book, the revelations come thick and fast. And, just as you think you have the whole thing figured out, Jones springs another surprise.

He serves it all up, in his typical fashion, with a heady mixture of the sights, the sounds, the smells and the tastes of those distant days.

Most of the tastes, I admit, don't appeal to me at all.
Except for the liver-dumpling soup.
For some inexplicable reason, I've always been fond of leberknödelsuppe.

But foods aside, there's nothing, absolutely nothing, in The Silence not to like.

If you've read Jones before, let me assure you, you don't want to miss this one. He's as good as ever.

And, if you haven't, my suggestion is to get cracking with the series.

You'll be glad you did.
HASH(0x9d35e1c8) out of 5 stars Sherlock, Lisbeth, Harry Hole, and now Werthen and Gross Dec 24 2013
By Philip J. Herman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I am shocked that only 7 people have reviewed this book, and not all are praising it to the sky. I discovered this author's newest book in my library, and then went into the stacks and started from the beginning. So I have read 3 and now am on the fourth book, 3rd in the series. Each of them is a gem. For context: I have read and re-read all of Sherlock Holmes, including the newer take-offs and comedic extensions and everything else I can find. I read and watched all of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and I am current with the Harry Hole series, immersed in the newest audiobook even as I read The Silence. J. Sydney Jones is a cultured, intellectual, great writer. The stories are pure joy. The writing is delicious. I highly recommend all of this series to anyone who appreciates travel, culture, architecture, history, intrigue, European food, period writing, good solid characters, inventive situations, etc. AND... a new and different Sherlock/Watson-type companionship; that is enjoyable and funny and interesting.

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