I’m currently reading the very stylish, moody, atmospheric crime thriller, Prague Nights, by noted crime writer, Benjamin Black. Mr. Black usually confines himself to moody, stylish pieces set in his native Dublin. However, Benjamin Black is the pen name for Irish writer and Booker Award winner (for The Sea), John Banville, who has written three historical novels set in Prague, focusing on the city’s greatest resident scientific revolutionaries, Johanes Kepler, Copernicus and Isaac Newton. Banville also wrote a beautiful book of sensitive vignettes on this most mystical of European cities, entitled, Prague Pictures, Portrait of a City.

I’ll be reviewing Prague Nights shortly. For how, here is the short publisher’s blurb on the book.

Prague, 1599. Christian Stern, a young doctor, has just arrived in the city. On his first evening, he finds a young woman’s body half-buried in the snow.

The dead woman is none other than the emperor’s mistress, and there’s no shortage of suspects. Stern is employed by the emperor himself to investigate the murder. In the search to find the culprit, Stern finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of the emperor’s court – unspoken affairs, letters written in code, and bitter rivalries. But there’s no turning back now…

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