Herr Inspector Nikolai Hoffner is the Kripo detective who takes us on our journey through post-WWI Berlin, Germany. His case begins quietly during the revolution, as the bodies of middle-aged women are found with signature designs carved into their backs. As if multiple victims weren’t enough, a sixth body is that of Socialist Democrat Revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. But something is different with this body. The carvings aren’t quite as perfect as on the other bodies.
When the Polpo (political police) snatch the body during the night, Hoffner knows there is more to this case than meets the eye. The further he digs and the closer he is to discovering the truth, the more disturbing this mysterious labyrinth becomes.
The novel has historical figures mixed in with fictional characters to give this work an essence of mysticism that intrigues the reader through the subtexts of love, betrayal and inner battles.
Rosa moves beyond being a murder mystery with glimpses into the economic and political chaos that plague Berlin in 1919. The cultural differences are detailed with descriptions of dress, homes, even comparisons of café clientele.
Jonathan Rabb’s newest novel is a tale as to what might happened during the five months between Rosa Luxemburg’s assassination and the time of her body’s discovery. The amount of research put into post-WWI Germany gives this story a believable air.
Rosa is an enjoyable read to anyone interested in history or fiction. The interjections of Nikolai’s difficulty with his own emotions give the reader a real guide, complete with personal flaws that keep the pages turning.