Diseased Society: Dan Vyleta’s The Quiet Twin

Vienna. 1939.

The Second World War has started, Austria is part of the German Reich, and the times are full of danger.

Dr. Beer is called to examine the niece of Professor Speckstein, Zuzka. The professor is supposed to be a Nazi spy and his dog had been brutally killed a couple of days ago. Even as Beer examines Zuzka and finds nothing wrong with her, the professor asks Beer to investigate the killing of his dog. The professor has a reason to be thus alarmed. After all somebody is killing Nazi party-workers and sympathizers in the vicinity. Meanwhile Zuzka too has something alarming to impart to the doctor. In the apartment across the road lives a mimic and Zuzka who has a partial view of his apartment is convinced that he is hiding (or holding captive) someone over there. Dr. Beer who has his own secrets soon gets embroiled in the lives of the people in the apartment block.

I picked up The Quiet Twin as it was described as “Rear Window as reimagined by Anton Chekhov and reset in Vienna at the start of World War Two.” It turned out to be a good read. The author skillfully captures the atmosphere of dread and foreboding in a city that is caught between guilt and dread. Here is one author I’ll like to read more of.


First Line: When Peter Kurten was but a young boy, he would watch his uncle attend to the slaughter of dogs.

Title: The Quiet Twin

Author: Dan Vyleta

Publication Details: London: Bloomsbury, 2011

First Published: 2011

Pages: 284

Other Books read of the same author: None


The book can be bought online. I purchased it last year from a second-hand book-seller at Nehru Place.


Submitted for the following challenges: A-Z (Titles), AZRC, European Reading, Merely Mystery, Mount TBR, Mystery and Suspense, New Authors, Unread Book

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