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The Second Rider

by Alex Beer

Set in Vienna just after World War One, survival is the main thing on everyone's mind. Food shortages have created a thriving black market and crime is on the up. Inspector Emmerich needs to bend the rules to get results and the line between good and evil is blurred. Emmerich is a great character and this first translation into English for Alex Beer is sure to be followed by many more and I for one will wait, with bated breath, to read them.

Extract

The pain in Emmerich's leg had been overshadowed by the one in his head. The piercing pain in his temples was barely tolerable, just like the throbbing at the base of his nose and the dragging pain in his neck.
Groaning quietly, he opened his eyes and was suddenly wide awake. This was not his bed, and it also wasn't his home .... Clean and sterile. Clinically clean. He was lying in an infirmary.
What had happened?....
'Good morning!' A nurse in a high necked, floor length outfit pulled back the curtains .... 'Aha, our liquor casualty has come back to life.'
Emmerich pushed back the covers and looked down ... he was completely naked ... even his lucky charm had gone. He had never taken off the necklace. Never. The little silver amulet had been found in the basket in which his mother had abandoned him. It was his most valuable possession ....
Someone must have attacked him and robbed him .... Had he really lost everything in one day? His new family, his home, his clothes and his money?....
Once the woman had finally left the room, he sat back up again. He would have liked to stay in bed but he didn't want anyone to figure out his identity. A member of the police force picked up in the street half naked and blithering drunk. Nobody could find out. His job, which he had put at risk the day before, was all he had left.
Translated by Tim Mohr

Parallels

A Nest of Vipers by Andrea Camilleri
Through a Glass Darkly by Donna Leon
The Dead Hour by Denise Mina
 

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