The first four novels in Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel series span the history of Nazi Germany from 1931 to 1938:
- In the first book, set in 1931 during the tense time before Hitler seized the Chancellery, we meet Hannah, then working as a crime reporter for a leading Berlin newspaper. In the course of investigating the death of her brother, she adopts a five-year-old orphan named Anton.
- In book two, set in 1934, Hannah flees to Bolivia to escape Ernst Röhm, a top Nazi official who considers Anton his son. But she finds herself unwillingly diverted back to Germany. There, she barely avoids being forced to marry Röhm to cover his homosexuality, only to be inadvertently rescued by Hitler when he engineers Röhm’s murder in the Night of the Long Knives.
- The 1936 Berlin Olympics is the setting for book three. Now based in Switzerland and living under an assumed name, Hannah is covering the games as a reporter. She has become a British spy and is passing secrets to them from a renegade Nazi officer, Lars Lang.
- Now, in book four, it’s November 1938. Neville Chamberlain has already ceded the Sudetenland to Germany, and Kristallnacht is near. Now 39 years of age, Hannah is working as a reporter for a prominent Swiss paper, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Her editor has sent her to Poland, where she stumbles across a major story in a small town named Zbąszyń. There, the Nazis have deported 12,000 Polish Jews, many of whom are dying in the cold and inhospitable town.
A City of Broken Glass (Hannah Vogel #4) by Rebecca Cantrell (2013) 368 pages @@@@ (4 out of 5)
Hannah “had been banished to this backwater from Switzerland because [her] recent anti-Nazi articles had resulted in a series of threatening letters.” She has brought along 13-year-old Anton, thinking the trip to Poland would allow her to escape the drama of her long-standing conflict with the Nazi regime. But that’s not to be. Two Gestapo thugs kidnap her in Zbąszyń and throw her into the trunk of a car before setting out for Berlin. But in what seems to be a coincidence, her former lover, Lars Lang, surfaces during the kidnapping. He succeeds in saving Anton. Thus begins another thrilling tale in Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel series.
In A City of Broken Glass, Hannah, Lars, and Anton will return to Berlin. There, the three will encounter constant danger as they attempt to learn the identify of the person who wrote those threatening letters and to solve the murder of another one of Hannah’s former lovers.
About the author
The four books in Rebecca Cantrell‘s Hannah Vogel series were the first of the 16 novels she has written. The others include mysteries set in the tunnels beneath New York City and a series of vampire novels she coauthored with James Rollins. She studied and lived in Berlin for many years and speaks fluent German but has moved with her husband to Hawaii.
For additional reading
I’ve also reviewed three other novels in the Hannah Vogel series:
- the first, A Trace of Smoke, at Crime in the underbelly of Nazi-era Germany;
- the second, A Night of Long Knives, at An historical crime novel that’s good but not good enough; and
- the third, A Game of Lies, at Undercover at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
You might also enjoy my posts:
- Top 10 mystery and thriller series;
- Top 10 historical mysteries and thrillers reviewed here (plus 100 others); and
- 20 outstanding detective series from around the world.
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