Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cruel Beauty - Mieke De Loof


MiekeDe Loof writes historical crime novels. The first one I read was ‘Duivels offer’ in 2004 situated in the Vienna of 1913. For this she was awarded the Hercule Poirot Prize. The latest novel Cruel Beauty plays in 1914 in Vienna's learned and moneyed circles filled with paintings, psychiatry, sacred texts and young girls and a predator on the prowl. It a sequel in a series which eventually will consist of seven books. The main characters Jesuit and spy Ignatz and his friend Elisabeth return. The city Vienna itself still is a marvelous backdrop creating atmosphere and giving a chance to inject a few historic or urbane facts into the story. In this book there is a serial killer on the loose. The murders are staged as paintings by Egon Schiele who is a minor yet very present character through which art and death become interwoven. I read the book in one day, intrigued and charmed. For a word nut it is also great to learn a new Dutch word ‘Altaardwaal’ the cloth surrounding the altar. Well, no I am not going to tell you  the story, just if you read Dutch: go get the book snuggle up on a cold night and you will have a great time. Mieke does great work.

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