By: Ed Ifkovic
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publishing Date: May 2015
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: June 18, 2015
As book six in the Edna Ferber mystery series opens, the year is 1914 and rumors are flying about a war that is in the making. It’s been two years since the sinking of the Titanic and Edna Ferber (an author and reporter) is traveling to Budapest, Hungary, the homeland of her father. Edna travels with Winifred Moss, a London suffragette. When they arrive, they book rooms in the Arpad Hotel, which is not the swankiest in the area but they like it. In the middle of the establishment sits the Café Europa, which is (according to Harold Gibbon, a reporter working for the Hearst papers) the hub for all gossip and front page news.
Gibbon tells Edna and Winifred that he wants to write a book featuring the decline and fall of the Austrians and that he is at the Europa to get a story concerning the upcoming marriage of an American heiress, Cassandra Blaine, to an Austrian count, who doesn’t have a penny to his name. However, Cassandra is smitten with Endre Molnar, who is from an old family but doesn’t have any of the old family money. To top it off, Endre is not exactly the favorite of Cassandra’s mother who is a social climber to end all social climbers. Cassandra talks to Edna and after she talks to Edna, Cassandra gets a note from Endre asking her to meet him in the garden. Sadly, Cassandra is soon found murdered and Endre is suspect number one.
This is the point where Edna and Winifred go into investigation mode and start looking for suspects. Edna is convinced that Endre is innocent and she's not going to stop until she is able to prove it. The duo find a few people who could have done the deed and are on their way to putting together the pieces of the puzzle of Cassandra’s murder, but there is a war looming and not much time. Between the mystery and the tense moments created by Archduke Franz Ferdinand's preparations for a trip to Sarajevo (and we all know what happened there), Café Europa was a very satisfying read.
Quill says: Another five star book in the Edna Ferber mystery series.