My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“The Time of Murder at Mayerling” by Ann Dukthas (a pseudonym of Paul Doherty) is a continuation of a historical mystery series starring Nicholas Segalla, a man who never dies and is also present at pivotal historical events. Segalla solves various mysteries throughout time, enlightening the author of his findings. “Mayerling” revolves around the 1889 death of Archduke Rudolph (the heir to the Hapsburg Empire and his young mistress, Maria Vetsera. Historians have labeled these two deaths as a murder-suicide, but Segalla proves differently.
I enjoy the premise of this series very much, and the mysterious and immortal Nicholas Segalla’s character is excellently portrayed. He’s smart, clever, and discreet. I don’t know enough about this time period to comment on the merits and accuracy of the author’s conclusions. (I will say that I found her other two mysteries where I do know a bit more about the time periods, “A Time for the Death of a King” and “The Prince Lost to Time” enjoyable but unpersuasive.)
Compared to his other two books that I’ve read, this one falls a little flat, but it may be due to my being less informed about this period in history.
This is a fun mystery–and the series a fun series–to read. You may or may not be persuaded by the end result, but it’s fascinating to read another perspective on a well known historical set of events. The mysteries are well written and well researched. And if the interpretation is different than either conventional history or your own opinions, well, there’s certainly nothing wrong with learning another point of view.