The body of a man--still sitting in a chair--is discovered in an abandoned piano factory on the outskirts of the city. He has been shot dead but his face has been horribly disfigured with acid, making identification impossible. In front of the body are three chairs positioned conspicuously in a straight line. Who were the former occupants? Had they sat in judgement and pronounced a sentence of death?
Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt calls on his good friend Doctor Max Liebermann--psychiatrist and disciple of Sigmund Freud--to assist in an investigation that draws them both into the shadowy and sexually unconventional world of fringe political activism. It is a world populated by Bohemians, Utopian idealists, and anarchists, many of whom endorse acts of terror to achieve their revolutionary aims.
When bomb-making equipment is found in a suburban basement, the sinister Imperial intelligence bureau (who have been secretly monitoring Rheinhardt's investigation) make themselves known. A legendary anarchist known only by his code name--Mephistopheles--is abroad in Vienna. An appalling act of terror has been planned and time is running out. Rheinhardt must hope that Liebermann, with his profound knowledge of psychology and science, will be able to prevent the coming catastrophe.
The latest novel in the iconic Max Liebermann mystery series, Mephisto Waltz is a tale of murder, romance, intrigue, and espionage set in the atmospheric world of fin de siecle Vienna.