1495: In the peaceful medieval city of Zons, on the banks of the Rhine, a young woman is found hanging from a parapet, raped and mutilated. A month later, another maiden falls prey. Bastian Mühlenberg, head of the City Guard, is determined to decipher the murderer's gruesome code, unaware that he and the woman he loves are in the killer's sights. With the help of an old psychic, a priest, and the stars above, Mühlenberg must solve the "fatal puzzle" before it's too late.
Present day: Journalist Emily Richter is thrilled when she's assigned a series of articles about the historic Zons killings. However, right before her stories are to be published, a young woman's body is found hanging from a city tower - grossly maimed and wearing a linen gown, like her medieval predecessors. Detective Oliver Bergmann leads the investigation, tapping the knowledge of the attractive young journalist. Working together - and using Mühlenberg's old notes - they race to stay one step ahead of the copycat killer.
©2013 Alexander Hartung (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Translation © 2014 by Julia Knobloch.
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"It had promise..."
I was curious when I saw the length of the book and wondered if an author could do justice to a good, complex thriller in that time frame.
The story was interesting, shifting from present day to 15th century and back many times. The shifts are well marked (important). Takes place in Germany (German author - good translation ). I found there's a nagging sense of the supernatural in the tone, and I was hoping the author could resolve it without going there.
So I listened to it. And as it's wrapping up, the one puzzler as to whether the supernatural or time travel was involved has not been answered.
And I swear, practically in the middle of a sentence that is beginning a next chapter, the narrator says: "to be continued..."
In my opinion, if the author had left it where Anna is wondering if she has imagined her encounters with Bastian, that would have been satisfactory. Kind of leave it to the reader to decide. That makes this book something that could stand alone, and I would have given it a better rating.
I don't know whether, all in all, I liked the story enough that I would want to continue with the series. I think a series based on a modern-day writer researching crimes of the past might be interesting, and I don't know whether that's where this author is going.
"Which is worse? Story? Narration? Doesn't matter!"
Wow, that was just bad. The only one overly excited about this story was the narrator, who was REALLY enthusiastic. Maybe he was trying to make lemonade out of the bag of lemons he was given, but again - wow.
"Spoilers Below (Marked), Unexciting"
I like historical mysteries and I have had some success when it comes to enjoying books from the Crossing imprint translated from the German. This one that I chose from Kindle Unlimited was not particularly exciting though. I'm not sure if it is the writer, the translator or the narrator who is the problem. One of the features that attracted me to this book was the availability of Audible narration. The narrator's voices was not unpleasant but there was something about it that just made it not too exciting. It felt a bit bland and when I went back and read a few chapters without listening to the narration I though it was a better book without the narration-- better but still not good.
Set in the late 15th century in the city of Zons-- at least in part, the other part was set in contemporary Zons, it's sort of a police procedural, sort of a serial killer novel and all a bit dull. The two contemporary heroines are young attractive women, one working in a bank, the other just starting a journalism career by writing about killings that took place some six hundred years in the past. The banker had just had a relationship end when she found out that her long time boyfriend was gay and wanted to marry her best male friend. That felt off kilter because it was just stated without considering how the characters felt about this.
In Zons of 1495 (more Renaissance I would have thought than Medieval) a detective, the son of a Mill owner, is trying to discover a murderer who had assaulted, mutilated and killed a young girl. I saw some references to historical inaccuracies in the book, but some of the things cited as unlikely didn't really strike me as a problem. For instance, there was a fairly high rate of literacy among the German Burghers and printing presses were spreading across Europe at a good clip due to this.. Paper was relatively cheap (as compared to parchment) and pocket notebooks existed.
Nope, it's not the history that bothers me so much as the
Big ole deus ex machina that leaps out and saves the day. There is also the really odd device of the killer rendering his victims cooperative by pouring an overly large quantity of wine down their throats. I would have thought it would have made them throw up rather than become hopelessly intoxicated.
So if you really want to read this book then you should read it and not listen to it and don't complain if at the end of the 15th century section your mouth falls open and you wonder what was that all about?
"Great German murder mystery!"
Great 1400's murder mystery and preset day copy cat set in Germany. Definitely a book that leaves no loose ends.
I love a good puzzle, and this one did take a while to figure out. There were twists and turns until the end. Really delves into the evil of the culprit. Could have been longer, but I gather this is part one of a series, so I will look for the rest of it.
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