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The Quiet Twin

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  212 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A tale of political paranoia, dangerous liaisons and defiant compassion, 'The Quiet Twin' is an unforgettable journey into a cityscape of totalitarian dread and deception.
Paperback, 392 pages
Published 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (first published January 1st 2011)
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As I will have a full FBC rv close to its publication next year (I read an earc of the US edition, though the UK edition is out) only some points:

- a very dark novel written in a somewhat whimsical tone that most of the time tones down the horrors

- excellent atmosphere and memorable characters mostly set in a Viennese housing complex that in the spirit of the times mixed the better off with working poor and was supervised in the name of the Reich by a chief administrator/informer that worked han
From the Author's Note at the end of The Quiet Twin, Dan Vyleta states:

My primary interest in this book belonged with the army of opportunists whose crimes at times were as grave in their consequences as those perpetrated by the true believers. Sixty-five years after the Second World War it is easy for most of us to convince ourselves that we could never have belonged amongst those who would have held wrong-headed beliefs; it is a more nagging question to wonder what one might have done in orde
I found this book to be simultaneously fascinating and repellent. The murdered dog, and the murdered women. The mime and his paralyzed, mute twin sister - I hate mimes. The precocious hunchbacked 10 year old and her drunken, abusive, later murdered father. The neurasthenic college student and her disgraced sex offender Nazi uncle. The ineffectual doctor and the brutal cop - don't read this book expecting to like anyone. The nasty soup that resulted from the overlaying of Freudianism, spiritualis ...more
The Quiet Twin is set in an apartment complex in Vienna in 1939, early in World War II. A series of bizarre murders have occured in the city. When a dog belonging to the building's owner is found dead, he asks a resident physician to investigate. He is aided by the landlord's niece, whose curiosity and budding sexuality seem destined to get her into trouble; also by a hunchbacked little girl with remarkable gifts of perception.

The characters' habit of watching one another across the courtyard of
...captures the paranoia endemic to society in Vienna..October 1939

What begins as an investigation into the killing of a neighbor's dog.....leads one Doctor Beer into the darker aspects of the lives of his neighbors. The diversity of social classes living in one apartment complex...surrounding a courtyard..

In this time and place...everyone had secrets..and would kill to keep them

Doctor Beer treats a young woman with sexual issues...a neighbor across the courtyard is caring for a "mentally defect
This is a book that fell from nowhere and blew me out of the water.

It is 1939 in Vienna, and the residents of a large, rambling apartment building are uneasy. The professor's dog has been violently killed, and a number of other murders in the area seem to share the same hallmarks. Across the yard the professor's niece, the doctor, the janitor, the drunk's daughter, the trumpet player, and the clown all stare and wonder. Who is responsible? Who will be next?

When the police start nosing around, th
This is a book that fell from nowhere and blew me out of the water.

It's 1939 in Vienna, and the residents of a large, rambling apartment building are uneasy. The professor's dog has been violently killed, and a number of murders in the area seem to share the same hallmarks. Across the yard the professor's niece, the doctor, the janitor, the drunk's daughter, the trumpet player, and the clown all stare and wonder. Who is responsible? Who will be next?

When the police start nosing around, the tensi
Diane S.
3.5 This is an extremely well written book set in Vienna in 1939. The plot and the murders actually seem more of a background to the paranoia that surrounded those who felt they had something to fear from Hitler and his SS. A time when a knock on the door was a frightening event, and the people inhabiting an apartment building surrounding a courtyard, find much to occupy themselves with by spying on the others living in the complex. Small nuances take on a sinister tone when a dog is killed and ...more
This story takes place in 1939 Vienna, under the Nazi regime, and involves a cast of characters some of whom will appear in his later postwar novel "The crooked Maid" which I read 1st. There is the same "noir movie" atmosphere-brooding, threatening, and filled with violence, murder, corruption, drunkenness, in the shadow-filled setting of a somewhat dingy section of Vienna. We are introduced to Dr. Anton Beer-psychiatrist doing general practice, Lieschen the little girl with spinal deformity(the ...more
When I started this book I was afraid it would be filled with overly grotesque characters and have a very dark atmosphere.While the book did take place in Vienna during the early part of the second world war the politics of the day played only a small part of the book.
The entire book was set in an apartment complex and there were several murders taking place at the same time. This is the main weakness in the book. The story has a number of sub plots that take place at the same time but the stor
Reading the blurb about this book I didn't expect to like it but I was wrong. This is a novel set in Vienna in 1939, populated by unsympathetic characters who are all watching and being watched in turn, all with their own secrets and eccentricities. Add to this the fear and mistrust that living under Nazi rule begets and you have a novel which shudders with tension and misgivings. Some of the plot was hard to believe and some of it unpleasant to read but the sum total of its components was an ex ...more
The Quiet Twin is set in a Viennese group of dwellings in the early years of WWII. The owner of the complex is a man who has fallen out of favor with society following a scandal, but had the means to escape total ruin. His dog has been brutally murdered - as have several people in the district. One of the residents, the handsome Dr Anton Beer, has some knowledge of criminal psychology and is conscripted by a thuggish police inspector to help solve the crimes.

That sounds like a fairly interestin
Steven Buechler
A macabre yet gripping tale about 1939 Vienna.

Page 42
"Her hunger sated, she looked under the sink to see how many bottles there were left. Her father got angry when they ran out and it was her responsibility to look after supplies. She counted one bottle of schnapps, and five of beer; three fingers' worth of Hungarian wine. It would do, but she'd have to run and buy some more tomorrow after school from the fat, smiling vendor across from the church. The money and ration coupons were in the drawe
Peter Boysen
If you look at newsreels from the Second World War, it feels like 200 or 300 years have gone by. The very idea of a European country trying to take over all of its neighbors, and then shove millions of the conquered into death camps and eliminate them, without the rest of the world knowing, is simply inconceivable. The World Wide Web has made too much of the world transparent for things like to happen, except perhaps in parts of Africa. Even the Chinese are having a hard time keeping their prote ...more
Finishing the book and reflecting on the content: What did I just read?
I'm not looking at this book in a bad way, it definitely wasn't dull and flat but rather it was interesting. There were many intriguing characters but do not expect to like them. Like all mysteries, the characters reveal more about themselves with little events and details occurring throughout the novel. I know I must be stating the obvious here but I suppose I never became aware of that until this book. The thing is, though,
I first heard of this book while listening to the BBC Radio 4 programme "A Good Read." The panelist who picked The Quiet Twin said something to the effect that he couldn't put the book down once he started it and he loved it so much that he promptly went out to be everything else Dan Vyleta has written (which unfortunately isn't a lot, yet). The other people on the show had exactly the same reaction, and now that I have read it, I know why. Set in Nazi-occupied Vienna, the novel concerns the occ ...more
This was an intriguing read about Austria during the Third Reich. It centers around an apartment building and all of the dark, disturbing things going on within its confines, highlighting the suspicion and distrust of the average person during this war torn period. This book was very hard to put down, although its subject matter was distateful. I also couldn't understand why any male would have a desire to rape a woman so sick that she was skeletal, full of sores and couldn't move. what could po ...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
If you can imagine what it would be like to take Hitchcock’s classic film Rear Window, quickly shove its contents into a time machine, and then transport it all to Vienna in 1939, then you can conjure up a pretty good idea with regards to what author Dan Vyletta’s second novel The Quiet Twin reads like.

If you don’t get the reference (please don’t tell me you’d get it if I mentioned Suburbia instead…), then imagine plenty of noisy individuals living in an apartment complex who are each staring ou
The book is centered in an apartment complex in the year 1939.

While it starts with the murder of a disgraced doctor's (also the landlord) dog, a series of murders have occurred in the city and it seems as if a serial killer is one the loose. The dog's owner asks a fellow doctor, Dr. Beer, to investigate, with a not-so-subtle hint of him being watched by the powers that be. Dr. Beer is aided landlord's hypochondriac niece and an abused, hunchbacked 10 year old girl and the habit of the complex's
I wish every book I picked up to read was as good as this book was. Wonderfully written, engaging characters, believeable Vienna in 1939-40. I'm sorry the story is over, like many books this good, you want it to go on and on. Dan Vyleta has a great gift, I hope he provides more enjoyment to his readers.

About the book: Vienna, 1939. Professor Speckstein’s dog has been brutally killed and he wants to know why. But these are uncharitable times and one must be careful where one probes…

When an unexp
Laura Stone Johnson
3 1/2 stars. This is a very atmospheric book that captures the dark fog of paranoia that must have seeped into everyone’s life in 1939 Vienna, but it’s also a complex character study – perhaps too complex for me. I’m not sure I caught all the subtleties or fully understood what was happening. But I liked it in the same way I like artsy noirish films with stark cinematography and convoluted plots that might leave me confused. Both leave an indelible impression or a sense of unease or a vivid imag ...more
Dan Vyleta is an immensely gifted storyteller and The Quiet Twin is chilling, utterly compelling, sinister, and addictive. When recommending this book to any of my friends, I will invoke the comparison to Hitchcock's film Rear Window. The closed setting of an apartment block, characters observing (and making assumptions) through windows, sinister goings-on: all these elements bear strong resemblance to the film. Yet this story is set in Vienna 1939, and the growing Nazi involvement in private li ...more
3.5 stars. Not bad but a bit hard to keep the characters straight. Good narration.
Cool, weird novel. Enjoyed the setting.
Kay Robart
Although Vyleta has tried to depict the atmosphere among the common people of Vienna under the Nazis, I am not so sure he succeeds. Dr. Beer seems to be one of the few characters who is aware of any threat. An aura of dread persists, but it seems more dependent upon my knowledge of coming events than on any feeling from the novel, although the novel is certainly bleak.

See my complete review here:
Buried In Print
This review was deleted following Amazon's purchase of GoodReads.

The review can still be viewed via LibraryThing, where my profile can be found here.

I'm also in the process of building a database at Booklikes, where I can be found here.

If you read/liked/clicked through to see this review here on GR, many thanks.
Vienna 1939: a convoluted novel that starts with the killing of a dog and gains extraordinary momentum from that point onwards. The characters are quirky, each hiding a secret of their own against the backdrop of the start of World War 2. The background is subliminally woven into the plot and never becomes a force of true change.Which of the characters we meet have blood on their hands? A thoroughly enjoyable novel.
Actually my rating is more like 2.4 rather than 3. I didn't exactly LIKE it, but I did get involved with it. I kept seeing the scenes in my head like in a black and white movie starring Peter Lorry. It was full of macabre stuff, and macabre isn't really my thing. The denouement a bit lackluster.
I used to love the dark, hard-to-get-into books when I was an English major in college, but now if I can't get into it in the first 100 pages, I'm done. Wisdom in old age? Not sure. But either way this one is going back to the library for someone else to tackle!
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Dan Vyleta is the son of Czech refugees who emigrated to Germany in the late 1960s. After growing up in Germany, he left to attend university in the UK where he completed a Ph.D. in History at King’s College, University of Cambridge. He now calls Canada his home. When not reading or writing novels, Dan Vyleta watches cop shows, or listens to CDs from his embarrassingly large collection of Jazz alb ...more
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