The Empty Mirror
A Viennese Mystery
By J. Sydney Jones
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312383893, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 20, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The summer of 1898 finds Austria terrorized by a killer who the press calls “Vienna’s Jack the Ripper.” Four bodies have already been found, but when the painter Gustav Klimt’s female model becomes the fifth victim, the police finger him as the culprit. The artist has already scandalized Viennese society with his erotically charged modern paintings. Who better to take the blame for the crimes that have plagued the city?
This is, however, far from an open-and-shut case. Klimt’s lawyer, Karl Werthen, has an ace up his sleeve. Dr. Hans Gross, the renowned father of criminology, has agreed to assist him in investigating the murders. Together, Gross and Werthen must not only clear Klimt’s name but also follow the trail of a killer that will lead them in the most surprising of directions. By uncovering the cause of the crimes that have shaken the city, the two men may risk damaging Vienna more than the murders did themselves.
Written by an acclaimed expert on Vienna and its history, The Empty Mirror introduces a new series of stunning historical mysteries that reveals the culture and curiosities of this fascinating fin de siècle metropolis.
J. Sydney Jones is the author of twelve books, including the nonfiction Hitler in Vienna, 1907--1913, the guides Viennawalks and Vienna Inside-Out, and the suspense novel Time of the Wolf. In 1968 he was a student in Vienna and later returned to live there for almost two decades. He currently lives near Santa Cruz, California.
Advance Praise for The Empty Mirror
“What Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did for Victorian London and Caleb Carr did for old New York, Sydney Jones does for historic Vienna. The Empty Mirror is a new classic mystery for discerning readers." --Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of the Queen Elizabeth I mystery series
“An intriguing, dark novel woven around historical facts and figures, set in the lush, breathing labyrinth of Klimt’s Vienna.” --Noah Charney, author of The Art Thief
“A rollicking roller-coaster ride through Vienna’s Prater Park complete with mysterious murders, a carload of famous names, and a pair of detectives who know enough about Viennese pastries to make your mouth water. History and fiction cleverly combined by a master storyteller.” --Michael Gregorio, author of Critique of Criminal Reason
*STARRED REVIEW* Set in Vienna in 1898, Jones's absorbing whodunit succeeds both as a mystery and as a fascinating portrait of a traditional society in ferment. When artist Gustav Klimt becomes a suspect in a series of bizarre murders, he turns for help to his lawyer friend, Karl Werthen, who joins forces with real-life pioneering criminologist Hanns Gross. Werthen and Gross follow a trail that leads through all strata of Viennese society and threatens to put them at odds with not only a trained killer but powerful members of the ruling class. Jones skillfully incorporates into his narrative many of the notable figures who lived in Vienna at the time. Some, like Klimt and sexologist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, play important roles, while others, like Zionist founder Theodor Herzl and visiting American author Mark Twain, make brief but highly appropriate appearances. Jones (Time of the Wolf) delivers a meaty historical that bodes well for further adventures. (Jan.)