Avid Series Reader's Reviews > A Dead Man in Trieste

A Dead Man in Trieste by Michael Pearce
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A Dead Man in Trieste by Michael Pearce is the first book of the Seymour of Special Branch mystery series set in port cities around the Mediterranean in the decade before World War I. The series begins in 1906 Trieste. Seymour is an English policeman in London's East End, remarkable only for his fluency in multiple European languages. British Consul Lomax has disappeared from Trieste; the Foreign Office doesn't have anyone skilled with languages, so sends Seymour to investigate the circumstances in Trieste. Seymour learns Lomax's regular routines, and meets his friends. Lomax seemingly loafed about each day drinking in the Piazza with a ragtag band of self-proclaimed artists. Lomax's clerk Koshkash diligently continues his work, even with Lomax missing. But what is the work? Preparing identity documents for seamen...

As Seymour works with police inspector Kornbluth to solve the case, he comes to realize the powder keg nature of the city. Many refugees from the Balkan provinces add to the existing tension from the fiercely resented annexation of Bosnia by Austria. Lifelong residents want Trieste to be part of Italy. Seymour realizes he's being followed everywhere, and starts to notice all the uniforms in Trieste. He learns of the "other police" (secret police) that hold power over the regular police force.

By meeting all of Lomax's acquaintances, persistently questioning all who had contact with Lomax, Seymour senses a pattern: Lomax and Koshkash were secretly aiding a particular ethnic group. Seymour probes how and why, and confronts the group leader with his hypothesis. Just in time, Seymour forestalls an international incident.

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Reading Progress

November 23, 2018 – Shelved
Started Reading
September 28, 2019 – Finished Reading

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