Requiem in Vienna – Review

In the second book of J. Sydney Jones’s Viennese mystery series, Requiem in Vienna, lawyer and criminal investigator Karl Werthen agrees to take on the task of preventing someone from murdering acclaimed composer and conductor Gustav Mahler after an ardent fan, Alma Schindler, convinces him to do so.

As various musicians of the Vienna Opera show up dead and suspicious mishaps that could lead to Mahler’s demise multiply, Werthen cannot discount Alma Schindler from among the suspects of the murder attempts. The long list of suspects that Werthen develops reveals that not only is it lonely at the top, but one creates many enemies getting there as well. It is a wonder that Mahler lived and history bestows him with many original works to his credit. Jealous tongues even said at the time that he stole his greatest works from a fellow conservatory student who became insane.

While proceeding from crime scene to crime scene, author J. Sydney Jones allows readers to luxuriate in descriptions of fin-de-siècle Vienna while showing how murder exposes the weaknesses of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the 19th century.

(J. Sydney Jones was the interview guest on Asnycnow Radio 3’s Culture with Ruth Paget program on October 2, 2010 on . A podcast of this program is available on