SET IN VIENNA

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Sisi: empress on her own / Allison Pataki

Infamously beautiful, a mother of four, and wife of Emperor Franz Joseph– whom she unintentionally stole away from her sister– Sisi’s reign was anything but simple. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against conflicting desires: to keep her family together, or to flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War.

Stolen Beauty : a novel / Laurie Lico Albanese

A tale based on the true story behind the creation and near destruction of Gustav Klimt’s most remarkable paintings traces the experiences of one of the master artist’s lovers in 1900 Vienna, whose experiences with anti-Semitism inspire the survival of her niece when the Nazis invade Austria decades later.

The Fortunate Ones : a novel / Ellen Umansky

One very special work of art–a Chaim Soutine painting–connects the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in a novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles.

The Third Man / Graham Greene

Rollo Martins is invited to Vienna by his school friend and hero Harry Lime, but arrives just in time to attend Lime’s funeral. Determined to find out the truth about his friend’s death, he eventually discovers that his hero was deeply involved in criminal activities.

The Chosen Ones / Steve Sem-Sandberg

The Am Spiegelgrund clinic, in glittering Vienna, masqueraded as a well-intentioned reform school for wayward boys and girls and a home for chronically ill children. The reality, however, was very different: in the wake of Germany’s annexation of Austria on the eve of World War II, its doctors, nurses, and teachers created a monstrous parody of the institution’s benign-sounding brief. The Nazi regime’s euthanasia program would come to determine the fate of many of the clinic’s inhabitants. Through the eyes of a child inmate, Adrian Ziegler, and a nurse, Anna Katschenka, the author explores the very meaning of survival.

The Exiles Return : a novel / Elisabeth de Waal

Vienna is demolished by war, the city an alien landscape of ruined castles, a fractured ruling class, and people picking up the pieces. It is a stunningly vivid postwar story of Austria’s fallen aristocrats, unrepentant Nazis, and a culture degraded by violence. The novel follows a number of exiles, each returning under very different circumstances, who must come to terms with a city in painful recovery.

Death and the Maiden : a Max Liebermann mystery / Frank Tallis

Ida Rosenkranz is top diva at the Vienna Opera, but she’s gone silent for good after an apparent laudanum overdose. Learning of her professional rivalries and her scandalous affairs with older men, Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt and Dr. Max Liebermann suspect foul play.

Requiem in Vienna : a Viennese mystery / J. Sydney Jones

After a singer is killed during rehearsals of a new production, the evidence suggest that someone is trying to murder the famed conductor and composer Gustav Mahler. His mistress asks Karl Werhem to help stop the attacks.

When Nietzsche Wept / Irvin D. Yalom

Lou Salom asks Josef Breuer, a physician, to help her friend Nietzsche emerge from his depression, not knowing that Breuer is himself depressed.

The Empty Mirror : a Viennese mystery / J. Sydney Jones

In 1898, with Austria paralyzed by a series of brutal murders, famed artist Gustav Klimt suddenly finds himself the prime suspect in the crimes when his female model falls victim to the killer.

Compass / Mathias Enard

As night falls over Vienna, Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his sickbed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, revisiting the important chapters of his life: his ongoing fascination with the Middle East and his numerous travels to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, and Tehran, as well as the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, orientalists, and explorers who populate this vast dreamscape. At the center of these memories is his elusive, unrequited love, Sarah, a fiercely intelligent French scholar caught in the intricate tension between Europe and the Middle East.

Sent to the Devil / Laura Lebow

In 1788 Vienna, Court Poet Lorenzo da Ponte, while putting the finishing touches on his new opera with Mozart, agrees to help the police with a secret investigation after his old friend, Alois, a retired priest and academic, is brutally murdered with strange symbols carved into his forehead.

The Crooked Maid : a novel / Dan Vyleta

Vienna, 1948. The war is over, and as the initial phase of de-Nazification winds down, the citizens of Vienna struggle to rebuild their lives amid the rubble. Anna Beer returns to the city she fled nine years earlier after discovering her husband’s infidelity. She has come back to find him and, perhaps, to forgive him. Traveling on the same train from Switzerland is eighteen-year-old Robert Seidel, a schoolboy summoned home to his stepfather’s sickbed and the secrets of his family’s past. As Anna and Robert navigate an unrecognizable city, they cross paths with a war-widowed American journalist, a hunchbacked young servant girl, and a former POW whose primary purpose is to survive by any means–and to forget.

Waiting for Sunrise : a novel / William Boyd

Wrongly accused of rape, Lysander Rief, a young English actor, finds his life taking a dangerous turn when the men who help him escape a conviction recruit him for a lethal mission that leads him to a traitor who is linked to his family.

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