The murder of an internationally renowned star of screen and stage at a Broadway theater in the summer of 1941 sets off a police investigation that reaches back to pre-WWI Vienna and 1920s Berlin in Brigitte Goldstein’s densely plotted new novel.
Stella Berger, formerly the darling of stage and cinema in Weimar Germany and of late an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime, is found strangled in her dressing room during a triumphal run on Broadway. Assisting in the police search for the killer is Misia Safran, a young Jewish refugee, who traces Stella’s life from her humble beginnings in a Viennese Jewish ghetto to her rise to stardom and international fame. To do so, she must cut through the thicket of self-serving testimony from the people around the star. Could veiled hints at a closely guarded secret in Stella’s past imperil the image of her public persona yet also provide the clue to solving the crime?
From the coffeehouse culture of pre-WWI Vienna to the cabaret milieu of 1920s Berlin and subsequently to exile in war-time New York, this novel takes the reader on a cultural whirlwind tour as the characters flee across the continent to escape from Nazi persecution.