Riveting, dark, and swift, Budapest Noir is a brilliant debut from a new international voice. Vilmos Kondor artfully captures pre-war Budapest, its social strata, politics, and bustling street life in this gripping and evocative thriller. In October 1936, Hungary’s prime minister dies before his dream of building a fascist state can be realized. But on the streets of Budapest, it’s business as usual for crime reporter Zsigmond Gordon as he follows a tip to a crime scene where a beautiful woman lies dead with only a Jewish prayer book in her purse. Disturbed by the bizarre circumstances of her death, Gordon is determined to investigate how such a beautiful, religious woman could end up dead in one of Budapest’s seedier neighborhoods. He’ll follow the leads through the city’s dark underbelly replete with pornographers, crime syndicates, and Communist cells to the highest echelons of power-the corrupt politicians and desperate businessmen trying to gain their favor. Gordon soon uncovers the identity of the victim: the disinherited scion of one of Hungary’s leading executives. Her father might be well-connected-with economic and political ties to leaders in Germany-so long as he keeps secret the fact that he was once Jewish. With masterful suspense and political intrigue reminiscent of the work of Alan Furst and Henning Mankell, Budapest Noir is a richly atmospheric tale of murder and betrayal.
Vilmos Kondor was born in 1954. He attended university in Szeged, Hungary, continuing his studies in Paris. He graduated from the Sorbonne with a degree in chemical engineering and returned to Hungary where he currently teaches high school mathematics and physics. Budapest Noir is his first novel. He lives with his wife, daughters, and dog in a quiet village outside the historic city of Sopron, near the Austrian border in western Hungary.