In Nazi-occupied Vienna, a string of unsolved murdershas thrown the residents of one apartment building intoa state of uneasy watchfulness. Anton Beer, a young doctorwho has made a study of forensic psychology, is asked by theretired Professor Speckstein to investigate. It is an unwelcomerequest: Speckstein’s job is to spy on the building’s residentsfor the Nazis, and Doctor Beer has his own reasons for keepinghis private life hidden from public scrutiny. When Beerdiscovers a paralyzed young woman in a neighbour’s apartment,his life is further complicated. The woman is unable totalk and deathly ill, and Beer, whose own wife has recently lefthim, smuggles her into his home to nurse her in secret.
As the story unfolds in propulsive, gripping prose, DanVyleta captures the atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion thatwas part of encroaching Nazi culture, and explores our disturbinginstinct in times of threat to turn a blind eye to uncomfortablerealities. The darkest mystery at the heart of this astonishingnovel reveals itself to be not a question of whodunit somuch as the temper of a diseased society in which every person’sactions are infected by the possibility of evil.
About the author
Dan Vyleta is the son of Czech refugees who emigrated to Germany in the late 1960s. He holds a Ph.D. in history from King's College, Cambridge. Vyleta is the author of three novels, Pavel & I, The Quiet Twin, which was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and The Crooked Maid, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the J.I. Segal Award. An inveterate migrant, Vyleta has lived in Germany, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. He currently resides in Stratford-upon-Avon in England.