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Café Europa
Edna Ferber Mystery Series, Book 6
Ed Ifkovic

Poisoned Pen Press
May 5, 2015 / ISBN 978-1464203923
Mystery, Europe 1914 - Deaf Character: Hungarian artist, Lajos Tihanyi, is a deaf mute

Reviewed 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 him innocent.

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.

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2015