Vienna, November 1919. The Great War had ended one year earlier, and the capital city of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire was in shock. “The once glamorous seat of the empire had become a filthy, bloodthirsty beast.” Demobilized soldiers wandered the streets, haunted by their experiences on the front. Food, fuel, warm clothing—everything was scarce. Those who could afford to leave were emigrating, but most could only dream of comfortable surroundings.
Thus, when Private Dietrich Jost’s body turns up in the woods, there is little reason to doubt he killed himself. Yet police Inspector August Emmerich is unwilling to accept that conclusion, despite the coroner’s finding that the man committed suicide. Thus begins the complex tale in The Second Rider, the first book in Alex Beer’s Inspector Emmerich series.
The Second Rider (Inspector Emmerich #1) by Alex Beer (2018) 320 pages @@@@ (4 out of 5)
Inspector Emmerich, now 36 years of age, rejoined the police after service on the Italian front in the Imperial Army. He limps slightly because of the shrapnel lodged in his right leg and is often in pain. Emmerich feels himself stuck professionally, assigned to track down the black-market smugglers who are the source of food and fuel for so many Viennese. He wants, above all, to join the Leib und Leben (literally, “life and body”) division of the police, the Viennese equivalent of a homicide department. Yet his inept superior refuses to allow him to investigate Jost’s murder—or those that follow it. And, to make matters worse, he has saddled Emmerich with an inexperienced and overeager rookie assistant named Ferdinand Winter.
The opening entry in an intriguing series of detective novels
In the investigation that Emmerich pursues, usually defying orders to concentrate on the smugglers, the inspector will find Winter far more useful than he’d imagined. The young man will save his life on more than one occasion. And in the process we will learn a great deal about both men. The Second Rider is an ideal setup for what promises to be a rewarding series of detective novels.
About the author
Alex Beer has written three books to date in the Inspector Emmerich series. Only the first, The Second Rider, has been translated from her native German to English. She was born in Austria and lives in Vienna.
For additional reading
You might also enjoy my posts:
- Top 10 mystery and thriller series;
- 20 excellent standalone mysteries and thrillers; and
- 20 outstanding detective series from around the world.
For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels (plus 200 more). And if you’re looking for exciting historical novels, check out Top 10 historical mysteries and thrillers reviewed here (plus 100 others).
And you can always find all the latest books I’ve read and reviewed, as well as my most popular posts, on the Home Page.