Sunday, November 11, 2018

Nine mysteries set in the immediate aftermath of WWI

J. Kingston Pierce edits The Rap Sheet, a blog focused on crime fiction, writes the book design-oriented blog Killer Covers, and is a columnist for Down & Out: The Magazine. At CrimeReads he tagged nine "crime and espionage stories whose action occurs within the first half-decade of the war’s finish," including:
The Second Rider by Alex Beer, translated by Tim Mohr (2018)

Like the city he serves—Vienna, former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire—Inspector August Emmerich has been brought low by the Great War. He has a wounded leg that’s left him ingesting pain meds such as heroin, and that he fears will curtail his dream of joining an elite major-crimes unit. His lover has just learned her husband didn’t die in battle after all, and she’s decided to return to his side. And Emmerich has been saddled with a naïve partner, Ferdinand Winter, who he fears will spoil his opportunities for recognition as a crime solver. Actually, the inspector’s inclination toward disobedience and obstinacy might be equal handicaps in that regard. He and Winter are tasked with crushing a smuggling ring that operates partly out of the city’s sewers and is run by one of Emmerich’s boyhood pals, Veit Kolja…but the inspector is more interested in pursuing a seemingly unconnected sequence of deaths, which have been passed off as suicides or the consequence of mishaps. He’s sure those men were murdered, but can’t ascertain how they knew each other, or why their mouths were stained yellow. Emmerich’s resolve to prove his conclusions will result in his becoming a wanted man, and ultimately his turning for assistance to Winter and Kolja. Beer’s character development and portrayal of postwar Vienna’s economic divisions may push her English-language debut onto many best-of-the-year book lists.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue