Tuesday, October 8, 2013
RUIN VALUE BY J. SYDNEY JONES
Ruin Value is subtitled "A Mystery of the Third Reich." Actually it is set in Nuremberg in 1945 as the world gathers in that bombed-out city for the Nazi War Crimes Trials. I had read Jones' earlier book, Time of the Wolf, a thriller set in Vienna, in 2012 so I knew that no one transports his readers to another time, another place better than he does. I wanted to know what Nuremberg was like in those momentous days, and that's what I got.
It isn't only how real the setting becomes for me as I read though. He creates believable characters of every sort and there is a plot that is worthy of the setting. In this book I realized who the killer was early, which isn't normal for me, but that fact only added to the edge of your seat thrill of the story. There is a serial murderer in the streets of the city, striking every three days, and highlighting the history of the Nazi reign. The nationalities of the victims are appropriate to that event as well. We meet black marketers, displaced persons scrabbling to stay alive, Nazi holdouts eager to damage the victors in any way possible, along with the military, the press, the judicial presence - all gathering in one city.
Most of the center of the city is composed of buildings in ruins. People live where they can, and outsiders there for the trials compete for decent accommodations. Our hero is an American cop who had been a spy during the war. He is assigned the task of stopping the killer, and he chooses as his partner a German cop he finds imprisoned. They are an odd couple but both focused on the same goal. I liked both of them immensely. The best developed character though was the killer. Jones has created a background for this person that lends understanding but still horrifies.
I see on the back cover that J. Sydney Jones has written two more mysteries, again set in Vienna. Since he lived there for many years, these should be just as good as his others.
Source: Open Road Media