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Budapest Noir: A Novel
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Budapest Noir: A Novel

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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The passing of the Hungarian prime minister before he could realize his dream of a fascist state has little effect on crime reporter Zsigmond Gordon. Life--and death--go on in the bustling old city, and a late-night tip soon leads him to a crime scene where a young woman lies dead, a Jewish prayer book in her purse. Disturbed by the bizarre circumstances--the corpse of a b ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Harper Paperbacks (first published February 1st 2008)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 23, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Will Byrnes
”Maids drank ground-up match heads to poison themselves and flung themselves in front of trams. Barbers dismembered their lovers. Divorcees slashed their veins with razors. Tradesmen’s apprentices leaped off the Franz Joseph Bridge. Jealous civil servants cut their wives to shreds with butcher knives. Businessmen shot their rivals with revolvers. The possibilities were endless, and yet they were oppressively the same, for the end was always identical.”

 photo Budapest1930s_zps5290bcfe.jpg
Budapest 1930s

This book is set in the 1930s
...more
Will Byrnes
Budapest Noir is a fun, engaging mystery set you-know-where. The time is 1930s, so there have to be some whiffs of things German and Italian in the air. Our hero is an intrepid crime reporter who is intrigued by the death of a young woman, a death the police, including his detective friend, are eager to ignore. Pull the thread and see how much unravels.

I read this front to back on a flight to Vegas. It is a wonderful way to help pass those hours in which one's knees do battle with the seat ahea
...more
Judith
In 1930's Budapest, a young woman dressed as a prostitute, is found dead in an alley. In her purse is a Jewish prayer book

Budapest, in 1936, was no place for a Jew, or an inquisitive newspaper editor, as Zsigmund Gordon soon discovers, once he begins his own investigation of the "non crime"

A knowledge of Hungarian history isn't necessary, to understand the story herein, but it helps.....the narrative itself fills a lot of blanks...but the story itself is pretty basic. A coffee factor's daughter
...more
Lakis Fourouklas
I guess the title tells it all, as in this book we do indeed have a Budapest Noir. However it’s not a modern day noir, since the events it describes take place in the famous city in 1936, just after the death of a populist leader who wanted to impose a fascist regime.
The good Hungarian author, who was born in 1954, gives us a bleak view of the city, whose people seem to constantly walk on a tightrope between dream and desperation. On the one hand we have the politicians with their big words and
...more
Πάνος Τουρλής
Βουδαπέστη, Οκτώβριος 1936. Το πτώμα μιας ωραίας, κομψοντυμένης εβραιοπούλας εντοπίζεται στην πιο κακόφημη γειτονιά της πόλης. Ο αστυνομικός ρεπόρτερ Ζίγκμοντ Γκόρντον σπεύδει εκεί για το ρεπορτάζ του. Καθώς μαζεύει τις πρώτες πληροφορίες νιώθει ότι πολλά πράγματα δεν «κολλάνε» κι αρχίζει τη δική του έρευνα, μια έρευνα που θα τον οδηγήσει σε σαλόνια πλούσιων εμπόρων, καναβάτσα πυγμαχίας, ορεινά θέρετρα και θα τον φέρει αντιμέτωπο με τον κίνδυνο και τον θάνατο.

Καλογραμμένο και γρήγορο, με εκπλήξ
...more
Anna
Budapest, 1936. The prime minister's death makes it unremarkable and unnoticed that the body of a prostitute is found in the red light district a few nights later. When journalist Zsigmond Gordon happens to the scene of her death (or at least body), he can't rest until he's unearthed what happened and who the dead girl is.
The atmosphere is classic noir. And it's probably also part of the noir that the characters leave you cold.

There are some odd and funny pieces in the story.
One of them is that
...more
Booksy
A dark crime novel set in 1936 Budapest, right after the death of the then Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös. The "Evening" reporter ends up investigating the death of a young woman found in the red-light district. Political intrigue, historical scene and the amazing sense of place that the author gave to this novel made the otherwise quite an ordinary investigative crime writing shine.
I found the best way to read this novel is with the Google Maps open on your screen: you will be able to follow the
...more
Jim
“And aren’t you curious even now about what a Jewish streetwalker would have been doing here?” Krisztina fixed her eyes on Gordon. “And as long as we’re on the subject, have you ever seen a Jewish prostitute? If you want my opinion, the question is not how she died, but how a Jewish girl—probably from a respectable, bourgeois family—ended up becoming a prostitute in the first place.”

This passage summarizes the main mystery in the book and sets up the reader for a richly engrossing and atmospheri
...more
Tuomo Polo
Ihan kiinnostavaa lukea välillä jotakin muuta dekkaria kuin tuttua kotimaista tai pohjoismaista. Virkistävää tämä oli silläkin, ettei tässä mässäilty jatkuvalla kännäämisellä tai irtosuhteilla vaan keskityttiin olennaiseen. Toki mukana oli tuttu pieni säväys romantiikkaa. Teoksen yhteydessä näkyy useaan otteeseen mainitun, että teksti kulkee film noir -hengessä. Se on varmaankin melko osuvasti sanottu. Sellainen mielikuva kyllä hiipii mieleen.

Ei tämä nyt kuitenkaan mitään elämää suurempaa tarjon
...more
Bill Lewis
Set in Budapest in the years leading up to WWII, Budapest Noir creates a sense of time and place that I found satisfying and especially interesting since I will be teaching there for 5 weeks this winter. The main character, a crime journalist, is accessible and believable with a combination of aristocratic charm and toughness that is perfect for a Noir drama and the MC's lover/companion in crime and the MC's grandfather, are both characters that I would like to get to know better. Some might des ...more
Nancy Oakes
this is a short review; you'll find a longer one here.

The year is 1936. Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös, who had once boasted to Hermann Göring that he would "reshape Hungary within two years and would preside over the new state as its dictator" by applying Germany's fascist principles, has just died, and all of the local newspapers are out in force to cover the funeral. The reporter from the Evening, Zsigmond Gordon, is one of the reporters assigned to this task, but as the story opens, he is work
...more
Marie
Budapest Noir is not exactly a 'bad book', it's just not that great a book. Most of it is an okay read if you're into the old crime novel genre, and I had a sort of bias as it was helping me brush up on my Hungarian pronunciations. But tensions in the book remain on a sort of stagnant level and the resolution is weak. As you can probably tell by my longer reviews, I usually have a lot to say on books and they usually provoke an overwhelming amount of thought, but this one didn't.

The only thing t
...more
Ryan James
This book was left behind in our other apartment by a guest who had read it and thought we may enjoy it. She said it was okay. Her daughter, who is a PhD student in American Literature had read it and said it was "interesting".

I started to read the book, became bored before page 25, and left it on the shelf. Then a former B and B guest wrote me out of the blue telling me there was this fabulous book that he had just finished and I had to read it. He also insisted it should be required reading fo
...more
Mr C Evans
Interesting period crime story

l selected this book because l live in Hungary and enjoy reading crime fiction. The plot is quite good and the story unfolds at a reasonable pace. However from my viewpoint there are not enough twists and red herrings to justify more than three stars. l think that more use could have been made of the interesting time period in which the book is set and this for me was the most disappointing aspect.
Wendy
Budapest Noir is based in 1936. Hungary is a mess politically. The country is influenced by the Fascists and the Communists. It is a dark part of history,. There is a murder of Jewish girl and the protagonist sets off to solve who killed her and why a Jewish girl was in that bad part of town, He of course is discouraged....
The mentality of this book was not what I was expecting. I imagined Nazi and communist propaganda mixing into the thick of things, scared city residents worrying about their f
...more
Laura
Excellent 1st effort. Very noir in style. I liked the setting of Budapest for a crime/mystery. The essential crime could have been set in London, Paris or New York but the time & cityscape made Budapest a good setting. Good atmosphere & sense of the period. I especially liked the creeping of fascism, as so many people of today like to think if they were living then & there it wouldn't have happened. As this novel points out subtlety, the changes small & seemingly unimportant (at ...more
Kenneth Kiboro
Not an easy read

Not an easy read

The book starts out really really slow and takes forever to unfold.
The author is too descriptive with the environment and unnecessary names. It picks up in the last 70 pages or so.
Ian
This is a debut crime novel with Zsigmond Gordon investigating the brutal street death of a young, attractive Jewish woman who he very quickly discovers was a high class prostitute. It is set in pre-war Budapest as the Fascists begin to take control, so it is interesting historically as well as being an enjoyable crime mystery. As Gordon seeks an answer to the riddle of why she was killed, he is both taken down into the desperate depths of the Budapest criminal underworld of vice and sexual expl ...more
carl  theaker
Nov 27, 2012 carl theaker rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to carl by: Morgiana
Shelves: history-fiction
Budapest Noir begins as an even-paced crime thriller with our hero
newspaper reporter employing his sidekicks; ever doubting
girlfriend (most men are familiar with those), and kindly Opa,
to untangle the web of activities he falls into in the
backstreets of 1936 Budapest.

I liked the background history taking place and it added to
the ambiance when after a chapter or two I looked up some
of the various Hungarian political figures and events mentioned.

Usually mysteries don't have this effect on me, b
...more
PopcornReads
In my continual quest for novels to bring you, I kept seeing Budapest Noir by Vilmos Kondor. At first I just passed it by but there was something about it that intrigued me. When I read the publisher’s brief synopsis, I decided it was worth giving a shot. As the title suggests, this is a dark and twisty tale. Because of some of its content, I don’t recommend it for young teens.

Will you like Budapest Noir? Some stories are so dark that like may not be the appropriate word. Will you be caught up
...more
Barbara Biasiotta
If you're looking for a new mystery with an intriguing plot and excellent writing, I can highly recommend a book to be published in English in February 2012, Budapest Noir by Vilmos Kondor. Set in 1930's Budapest this fast-paced thriller draws you in from the very first page. Here are many-layered characters you will care about and whose endangered lives are central to the solving of a beautiful young girl's mysterious death. Kondor's main character Zsigmond Gordon gets under your skin and makes ...more
ΠανωςΚ
Στα ελληνικά "Εγκλημα στη Βουδαπέστη".
Ένα αστέρι για το έγκλημα, πέντε για τη Βουδαπέστη.

http://trollingstone.gr/?q=node/1671
Panu Mäkinen
Vilmos Kondorin esikoisteos ”Budapestin varjot” on film noir -henkinen dekkari – mitä se sitten ikinä tarkoittaakaan. Teos sijoittuu 1930-luvun Budapestiin. Paikallistuntemus on eduksi, jos haluaa pysyä kärryillä siitä, missäpäin kaupunkia rikoksia ratkova Zsigmond Gordon milloin viilettää. Kirja vilisee kadunnimiä, rakennuksia ja muuta maantieteellistä nimistöä, mutta tarinaa voi seurata, vaikka niitä ei osaisikaan sijoittaa kartalle. Jos pitää Raymond Chanlerin teoksista, tämä voi olla nappiva ...more
Ashland Mystery Oregon
1936 Budapest: a young beautiful dead woman, political intrigue, government corruption, insidious and creeping anti-Jewish acts and looming Nazism. A great read of the last days of Budapest as the grand, cultural center of Europe.

Good job, Harper, for bringing this eminently readable noir to the states, and kudos to Paul Olchevary for his excellent translation. Thanks Carl at Bookwagon for holding this one for me!

--Ashland Mystery

A. P.
Really enjoyed this one. The crime is not that complicated, though interesting enough, but the setting and the atmosphere are excellent. Gordon is a likeable hero, his granddad is a lovely oddball (with his jams and stuff), his girlfriend is a bit feminist to my taste (just kidding!) and the overall effect was quite satisfying. Not more than what it is: a mystery. A good one. Don't have the time to travel to Budapest? Don't have the money for time travel? Pick this novel.
Diane S.
It is 1936, the prime minister is dead and it is a time of great change in Europe and in Budapest. A woman is found dead, clutching a prayer book, and a crime reporter Gordon, sees ties in the murder linking it to his friend on the police force. The future looks bleak in general and Gordon investigates links to prostitution, bribery and corruption. Well written, definitely interesting times, and intriguing characters, will appeal to fans of Philip Kerr.
Tricia
Very interesting, but not in a fast paced way. I was tired of reading it before I was done, and the ending was anti-climatic.

I kinda felt like this should have been a three star, but it had so many layers, and interesting situations that I decided four stars was what it really deserved.

Worth remembering that this book wasn't written in English, and there are moments when that's clear.

Judith
Budapest Noir is a good first attempt, despite finding myself confused a few times when new characters pop-up without any explanation as to who they are and why they're being mentioned. There are some rough spots and character development could have been better. However, I did finish the book and had no trouble doing so. A good first effort.
Sophie
I don't usually read crime, but was interested in the setting of this, Budapest in the 1930s. Honestly I found the writing rather bland and clunky, but that could have been due to a poor translation. The city does figure largely in the story and is in fact more vivid than the main characters who were rather flat and uninteresting.
Philipp Wehmann
Ein guter Krimi, angesiedelt im Budapest der 30er Jahre. Prostituiertenmord hört sich zwar ein bisschen abgedroschen an, aber das ist die Story nicht: Ein Journalist stößt auf eine Gemengelage aus Milieu, "Fight Club", korrupter Politik, Antisemitismus und Familientragödie, die durchaus fesseln kann. Empfehlenswert!
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Vilmos Kondor was born in 1954 in Hungary, he attended university in Szeged and completed his studies in Paris. He graduated in chemical engineering from Sorbonne, then returned to Hungary. Currently he teaches mathematics and physics at a high school. His first novel, Budapest Noir, originally was published in Hungary in 2008. His protagonist, the journalist Zsigmond Gordon appears in five novels ...more
More about Vilmos Kondor...
Bűnös Budapest A budapesti kém Budapest romokban Budapest novemberben A másik szárnysegéd

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