City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin

At the continued urgings of one of my favorite library members I finally read City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin.  I am an avid mystery reader and can’t believe this amazing book got past me until now.

City of Shadows opens in the shabby, brutal and corrupt city of Berlin during the year 1922. Esther Solomonova, a Russian Jew, horribly scarred during a pogrom, scrapes out a desolate living as the occasional mistress and indispensable business manager to fellow Russian émigré “Prince Nick”. Nick, always scheming to find a way to make his fortune, is the owner of several tawdry nightclubs frequented by the powerful leaders of Weimar Germany.

His latest unscrupulous scheme is to present asylum patient Anna Anderson as the Russian Grand Duchess, Anastasia. As Anna’s companion and guardian, Esther realizes Anna’s fear of being hunted may not be a delusional fantasy.  Anna’s existence appears to be the key to the multiple unsolved murders investigated by Inspector Schmidt.

Franklin’s research and literary style bring to life the rise to power of the Nazis and the new world order for the post-revolution Russian Bolsheviks. These forces are entwined in the mystery of Anastasia.  The violence and coarse language the author uses are integral to the intense atmosphere of the story. This aspect of her writing should not deter the reader from Franklin’s authentic research, complex plot and well defined characters.

If you liked In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson  City of Shadows is for you.

Find and request this title in our catalog.

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