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By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 16 June 2011

VIENNA TWILIGHT is a very satisfactory fifth addition to the series written by Frank Tallis. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the series, my remarks won’t reveal too much, so here’s a taste of the novels.

In the early 1900s in Vienna, Austria, Max Liebermann and Oskar Rheinhardt are friends with common and disparate ideas. They share a passion for music and practise regularly. Very early in the novels, I was entranced by their musical perceptions. We receive marvellous visions of Vienna: the architecture, current society and oh! the pastry! The friends have different attitudes about many issues—Max is a psychoanalyst and disciple of Sigmund Freud, and Oskar is a Detective Inspector with the Viennese police. As Oskar is presented with a baffling crime, he calls on Max for guidance. Throughout the series, this pattern repeats with intriguing variation. If this is your first exposure to Frank Tallis, start with A DEATH IN VIENNA—you don’t want to corrupt any of the personal explorations with plot-spoilers. And, of course, you don't want to miss any of the pastry.

Frank Tallis is one of few authors whose stories I read the first time as though I had read them many times. I appreciate the skill required to make sure I don’t lose my place in the story, forget the characters’ identities, or feel on the butt end of inside jokes, especially to do so while keeping the story moving in unexpected and provocative ways. While the stories are not cosy, the characters are comfortable and familiar, and I am happy to yield control of my imagination to this author.

Lovers of crime fiction like the resolution of a mystery and the comfort of justice meted out, but in some way we are attracted, dare I say aroused, by crime? Frank Tallis taps our psychological interest in and repulsion of crime, expertly exploring the motivation of criminals alongside the warm attraction of friends in one finely-written, entertaining package.

VIENNA TWILIGHT will be on my list of best books read this year.

By Frank Tallis
© 2010
Random House, Inc.

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Theresa, I have not read this series. I've added A Death in Vienna to my reading list. Thanks!

Theresa de Valence's picture

Very rich, Phyllis. I hope you tell me what you thought of A DEATH IN VIENNA (#1 of series).


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