by Michael Pearce, narrated by Clive Mantle
An Audiobook Review by Jackie Houchin
It’s the early 1900’s in Trieste. There is trouble at the British consulate when Lomax, the main man there disappears. The powers that be in the Foreign Office send Sandor Seymour, an East End immigrant policeman in London to investigate the disappearance. He’s sent as a “King’s Messenger” (undercover as a policeman) simply because he can speak Italian and German.
It’s slow going as Seymour gets his feet wet in the city, until Lomax’s body is found. And still, between the over-the-top-crazy artists’ community, the closed-mouthed dock workers, a cagy cinema owner, and a sly military policeman, Seymour has a tough time getting any information at all.
Very slowly he begins to piece together the illegal operations Lomax (and now possibly his successor) had been doing. Why were dark strangers coming to the consulate late at night and picking up British exit papers? Who were they actually?
Finally, with the help of a very interesting woman (who also knew Lomax very well), Seymour discovers a dangerous undercurrent of dissent between foreign students and protestors from nearby Balkin countries. It’s a powder keg that will eventually set off a world war. But Seymour is able to quell it for a while at least, until he closes the consulate and leaves.
This book is slow going. There is a lot of drinking and talking at bars, and the talk about crazy art and even cinema drags on a bit. When Seymour finally gets on the trail of the why and the who, it gets more interesting. The narrator has a nice range of voices for the characters.
THREE ½ Stars