Frank Tallis deftly moves into the first rank of British mystery writers with his fifth Dr. Max Liebermann and Detective Inspector Oskar Reinhardt tale. Set in turbulent Vienna in the early 1900s, this intriguing tale sees Reinhardt again calling on the skills of Liebermann, a psychopathologist, as they investigate to help solve the bizarre killings of young women, each murdered with a hat pin while in the throes of consensual sex.
This is masterful storytelling, centered on the workings of the mind rather than the traditional forensics of police detection. The psychological puzzle grabs the reader early on, but Vienna Twilight will haunt long after the last page is read, in large part thanks to the author’s skill in building characters. Tallis, himself a clinical psychologist and expert in obsessive states, evokes the period of Freud’s Vienna with both imagination and expertise. He also uses his skill to give insight into the yearnings of Liebermann, who has an unresolved obsession with one of his patients. Rich with insight into the psyches of its characters and offering a compelling, complex plot, Vienna Twilight this novel featuring the team of detective and doctor will be welcome in many sequels.