An aristocrat who holds down a Hauptkommissar’s post on the Berlin police force, investigates the long-ago deaths of his parents: a fable of fathers and sons in a Germany that’s anything but unified.
Six months ago, Count Jens Müller learned that the father and mother who died in an airplane they were piloting when he was only a boy were actually subjects of a murder for hire. Now that he’s finished sitting on that intelligence and is ready to look closer, revelations come thick and fast. His titled father was really a double agent for the West, working deep inside the Stasi. And Müller, who’s inherited so much of his father’s attachment to secret-agentry (Romeo Summer, not reviewed, etc.), has inherited some of his enemies as well. The assassins who’ve targeted a visiting peace activist from the Mideast have seen that the younger Müller is just as pesky as his father and determined to eliminate him. And Müller’s superior, Polizeidirektor Heinz Kaltendorf, seems pathetically or willfully supine when he’s confronted by the killers’ obvious menace. Luckily, Müller has reliable allies, from his old friend Oberkommissar Pappenheim to his new acquaintance Timothy Wilton-Greville, his aunt Isolde’s first husband. Ex-spy Greville knows the burdens of filial duty firsthand in the worst way. The son of a man he killed in the line of duty, a boy whose adoption and education he arranged for, is now a professional killer who aims to combine business with pleasure by liquidating Greville. Little does the killer know that Greville is carrying a lethal time bomb of his own.
A conscientious review of postwar Germany’s painful family legacies, though a bit muffled by the fact that some of the most interesting characters are long dead and the denouement is evidently reserved for a later volume in the series.