Mystery Series, Book 6
Poisoned Pen Press
May 5, 2015 / ISBN 978-1464203923
Mystery, Europe 1914 - Deaf Character: Hungarian
artist, Lajos Tihanyi, is a deaf mute
by Linda Morelli
Ed Ifkovic has written a series
of novels that fictionalize the adventures of Edna Ferber,
author of the bestselling novels, Giant and Showboat.
Two of his novels involve intriguing plots the movie product
of Giant and the musical adaptation of Show Boat
by Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern, and his stories span
1904 to the 1950s. Each novel features Edna as an amateur
sleuth and introduces real life characters, such as James
Jean, Harry Houdini, playwright George S. Kaufman, and Broadway
producer Jed Harris, among others.
In Café Europa, Edna is in 1914 Budapest with
Winifred Moss, a famous London suffragette 20 years her senior.
Both women enjoy watching the writers, artists, politicians
and others who are among the café’s clients.
Cassandra Blaine, whose wealthy parents arranged for her to
marry an Austrian aristocrat with title but little money,
stands out as the most interesting. Other intriguing visitors
include Harold Gibbon, in the employ of Hearst’s newspaper
syndicate, real life modern pioneering artist Bertalan Pór
and Hungarian artist, Lajos Tihanyi. Edna learns that Cassandra
loves Endre Molnár, a handsome and rich Hungarian.
Later, an unhappy Cassandra asks Edna to meet her in the garden,
and Edna finds her dead body. Endre is a devastated by Cassandra’s
death, and I could understand Edna’s desire to prove
Café Europa is a thoroughly enjoyable and
wonderfully written mystery with a clever plot, intriguing
characters, and insight into the burgeoning troubles in the
Austro-Hungarian Empire prior to World War I. Harold is an
excellent example of the yellow journalism of the times and
the inclusion of the artists added insight into the exciting
changes in the cultural changes of that era. The main enjoyment
for me in this excellent novel, however, was following Edna’s
attempts to solve Cassandra’s murder.