THE DEVIL'S LIEUTENANT by M. Fagyas

THE DEVIL'S LIEUTENANT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A slow, involving exposure of a turn-of-the-century murder case, a bizarre happening among the elite officer corps of the Austro-Hungarian Army. Captain Richard Mader, handsome, accomplished hitherto in amatory performance, nonetheless swallowed an ""aphrodisiac"" capsule, sent through the mail unsolicited, and died horribly of cyanide poisoning. The subsequent investigation by Captain Emil Kunse, leads through many interviews, a suicide and tales of women deceived or abused, to a prime suspect. He's a young officer, Peter Dorfrichter, who is detained. As the web closes on Dorfrichter, Kunse is increasingly convinced of his guilt. Yet the bonds between prisoner and investigator also tighten, and Kunse, struggling with his uneasy awareness of boyhood homosexual experiences, suffers through flushes of hate and love. Dorfrichter does confess, and in spite of pressures within and political arm-twisting from above, Kunse completes his investigation with exemplary integrity. Mr. Fagyas has accomplished a cool, meticulous biopsy of motivations within a hierarchical military community and within the personality of a good man caught in its stifling structure.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1970
Publisher: Putnam