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A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell
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A Trace of Smoke (edition 2010)

by Rebecca Cantrell

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2482846,284 (3.89)22
Member:natazouf
Title:A Trace of Smoke
Authors:Rebecca Cantrell
Info:Forge Books (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:policier, Hannah Vogel

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A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell

  1. 00
    The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: There's a sense of inevitability in these historical mysteries, which take place at the close (The Light in the Ruins) or just before (A Trace of Smoke) World War II and star female leads with personal ties to their investigations.
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Set in 1931 Berlin, this story follows newspaper journalist Hannah Vogel after she finds out her brother has been murdered. Hannah decides she can’t approach the police to investigate, since she had recently loaned her identity papers to a friend who wanted to immigrate to America (a fairly transparent plot device.) The plot was a little confusing at times, simply because there is a whole lot going on. It also bothers me that Hannah didn’t bother searching Ernst’s apartment for clues to his murder. She obviously had access, and that would be the first place I’d look. I also had some problems with the resolution to the mystery (see spoilers below). All in all a good historical mystery, but one too convoluted to thoroughly enjoy. I probably won’t read subsequent books in the series.

WARNING: This next section of the review contains spoilers for the end of the story.
The reason for Ernst mailing Hannah the love letters from the Nazi officer never made sense to me. The act insinuated that he was feeling threatened by the man, but that never panned out. Also, although I’m sure people will disagree, I felt uncomfortable with the fact that Hannah felt entitled to steal a child that she knew wasn’t hers. I understand the motivation, but I think that story thread could have been resolved a bit better without outright kidnapping. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
A thoroughly enjoyable mystery set in 1931 Germany. As Hitler gains power, a Berlin crime reporter learns that her homosexual, cross-dressing younger brother has been murdered, and there are several legitimate suspects, including Hitler's right-hand man. It's filled with evocative narrative and an excellent sense of time and place. In less competent hands, some of the subject matter could go way too far down Sordid Lane, but Cantrell does a good job of exploring this particular underbelly without taking things too far. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
Rebecca has written and crafted a wonderfully tight plotted story set in Berlin 1930's. Hannah will draw you in with her refined tough character and leave you clambering for the next book.

I will not go into story detail because I hate reading reviews with them. That's what the inside jacket cover is for, but I will tell you this: This story has a great ending that will not disappoint. So many times I've read books and have been left with that 'so what' feeling. Not the case with Rebecca!!! She never cheats her fans!!!

Also have a look at her collaboration with James Rollins in Blood Gospel. I have never read a more perfectly intertwined collaboration then this book. You can clearly see both of them at work here. James with his technical prose and Rebecca with her subtle romance and charm. Simply splendid! ( )
  Deankut | Sep 26, 2016 |
Crime reporter of the Berliner Tageblatt, Hannah Vogel, masquerades under the name Peter Weill to disguise the fact that the tough-writing hardened journalist is really only a woman, while her brother Anton disguises his manhood in the guise of a flamboyant cross-dressing lounge singer performing in the fashionable gay clubs of Berlin in the early 1930s.
When Hannah recognizes her brother’s photograph on display in the Hall of The Unnamed Dead in the basement of the Berlin police station, she is thrown in a mystery. It will take every ounce of the investigative reporter she really wants to be in order to discover how her younger brother’s body ended up in the river and placed alongside all the other unidentified bodies found by the police.
Fired from her job and on the run from Hitler’s storm troopers, her investigation leads her to top ranking gay Nazi party leaders such as Ernst Rohm. She attempts to blackmail Rohm over sexually graphic letters she discovered in her brother’s possession in order to coerce the truth while kidnapping a young boy that Rohm is using in order to present his more austere front.
Historically correct in the treatment of its setting from places to dates and politics to dramatics, “A Trace of Smoke” sucks you in like an unfiltered cigarette, burns as you breathe it out, but ultimately satisfies like only a true mystery can.
( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
Crime reporter of the Berliner Tageblatt, Hannah Vogel, masquerades under the name Peter Weill to disguise the fact that the tough-writing hardened journalist is really only a woman, while her brother Anton disguises his manhood in the guise of a flamboyant cross-dressing lounge singer performing in the fashionable gay clubs of Berlin in the early 1930s.
When Hannah recognizes her brother’s photograph on display in the Hall of The Unnamed Dead in the basement of the Berlin police station, she is thrown in a mystery. It will take every ounce of the investigative reporter she really wants to be in order to discover how her younger brother’s body ended up in the river and placed alongside all the other unidentified bodies found by the police.
Fired from her job and on the run from Hitler’s storm troopers, her investigation leads her to top ranking gay Nazi party leaders such as Ernst Rohm. She attempts to blackmail Rohm over sexually graphic letters she discovered in her brother’s possession in order to coerce the truth while kidnapping a young boy that Rohm is using in order to present his more austere front.
Historically correct in the treatment of its setting from places to dates and politics to dramatics, “A Trace of Smoke” sucks you in like an unfiltered cigarette, burns as you breathe it out, but ultimately satisfies like only a true mystery can.
( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765320444, Hardcover)

Even though hardened crime reporter Hannah Vogel knows all too well how tough it is to survive in 1931 Berlin, she is devastated when she sees a photograph of her brother’s body posted in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. Ernst, a cross-dressing lounge singer at a seedy nightclub, had many secrets, a never-ending list of lovers, and plenty of opportunities to get into trouble.

Hannah delves into the city’s dark underbelly to flush out his murderer, but the late night arrival of a five-year-old orphan on her doorstep complicates matters. The endearing Anton claims that Hannah is his mother… and that her dead brother Ernst is his father.

As her investigations into Ernst’s murder and Anton's parentage uncover political intrigue and sex scandals in the top ranks of the rising Nazi party, Hannah fears not only for her own life, but for that of a small boy who has come to call her “mother.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:33 -0400)

"Hardened crime reporter Hannah Vogel knows all too well how tough it is to survive in 1931 Berlin. Still, she is devastated when she sees a photograph of her brother's body posted in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead." "Ernst, a cross-dressing lounge singer in a seedy nightclub, had many secrets, a never-ending list of lovers, and plenty of opportunities to get into trouble. While attempting to maintain her budding romance with a handsome upstanding banker, Hannah delves into the city's dark underbelly to flush out the murderer who stabbed her beloved brother in the heart." "The late-night arrival of a five-year-old orphan on her doorstep complicates matters. The endearing Anton claims that Hannah's dead brother is his father and that, impossibly, she is his mother."."Now Hannah must find not only her brother's murderer but Anton's real parents, a task that seems impossible since all traces of his past have vanished. As her investigations uncover political intrigue and sex scandals in the top ranks of the rising Nazi party, Hannah fears not only for her own life, but for that of a small boy who calls her "Mother.""--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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