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Cafe Europa: An Edna Ferber Mystery    by Ed Ifkovic order for
Cafe Europa
by Ed Ifkovic
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It's 1914, in Budapest, Hungary. The well-known Edna Ferber is staying at the hotel that houses the Café Europa. She is accompanied by her good friend and famous London suffragette Winifred Moss. Rumors of war float through the streets. The city is apprehensive. The feeling of bad times ahead is spread by Hearst reporter Harold Gibbon who predicts war is just around the corner.

Edna and Winifred think of him as just someone looking for the story that will make him famous. They ignore his wild blandishments. Then a murder occurs. Cassandra Blaine, a headstrong heiress, is to marry a member of Austrian nobility. Cassandra is very unhappy with this situation. She loves another. When she is killed, a blustering policeman is convinced that the man she wanted to marry is the culprit.

Winifred and Edna don't believe that this man is guilty and they begin to investigate on their own – disregarding the news that Archduke Franz Ferdinand is on his way to Sarajevo. When Harold Gibbon is also killed, they begin to feel very uneasy, although they become enthralled with two avant-garde artists – one of whom is deaf and dumb.

Café Europa is the latest in a series of mysteries by Ed Ifkovoc – all with Edna Ferber as protagonist. I so very much enjoyed the history of this time period, fed to me in small doses, but which made the story come alive – the fashions, the cuisine, the class system, the domination of women, as well as the political scene and the depiction of the city of Budapest itself as war loomed.

I felt very much a part of the story and was disappointed when my time with the wonderful and colorful characters ended. This is a very fine series.

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