The Silence

by J. Sydney Jones

In Brief

The setting is Vienna, Austria, in the year 1900. One of the sons of the powerful industrialist Karl Wittgenstein has gone missing. Private inquiries agent Karl Werthen, at the recommendation of the artist Gustav Klimt, is hired to find him. Along with his counterpart, the real-life Hanns Gross, Father of Modern Criminology, their investigations lead them to link the high-profile suicide of a Viennese City Councilman with civic corruption that threatens not only the City of Vienna but the Habsburg monarchy itself.

Why you should read it

Vienna in 1900 was the cultural crossroads of Europe. In addition to the mystery, this book brings to life so many people, some not so well known to us in the 21st century, who had a hand in shaping the 20th century: the art of Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession; Freud's breakthroughs in psychiatry; the architect Otto Wagner's magnificent buildings and design of the city's transportation system; the composer Gustav Mahler, whose symphonies and directorship of the Vienna State Opera continued Vienna's reign as the music capital of Europe; the writer Karl Kraus whose journal The Torch attacked society's hypocrisies for 37 years; the socialists Victor and Emma Adler whose writings influenced the socialist movements of the early 1900s. The Silence is a painless history lesson about a vanished world that laid the groundwork in so many ways for our own world.

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