By Kay Kendall
By the time you are reading this posting, I will be busily multi-tasking in Vienna, Austria. This two-week trip with my husband combines a boatload of pleasures and missions. First, it marks our fortieth wedding anniversary and also the completion of Bruce’s arduous treatments for neck cancer only four months ago. So what if our pace will be slower than on previous journeys? We will be there and thankful. Many years ago we spent three days in Vienna and always vowed to return. This is our time.
We will return to places we enjoyed before and see others we missed—like the museum located in Sigmund Freud’s old apartment and office, where psychoanalysis was born. There is a famous coffeehouse I want to return to, Café Sperl, and of course we will return—perhaps even daily—to the Sacher
Hotel to partake of its stupendous
culinary creation, the Sacher torte. Then there will be the museums and palaces
of the old Hapsburg Empire and the Mozart concerts in old churches.
So much for frivolity! In addition, I will be researching some of these locations and many more for inspiration for my third mystery in the Austin Starr series. I know, I know. The second one, RAINY DAY WOMEN, isn’t even published officially until July 7, but I am keen to begin my next writing project.
In this new book my amateur sleuth Austin Starr will get ensnared in an East-West spy plot when she accompanies her husband David to an academic conference in Vienna. As I’ve often stated, I’m a student of the Cold War years—a fan, sort of—and Vienna was the epicenter for spying during many of those years.
If you’ve seen the beloved classic film THE THIN MAN, then you have some idea of what I’m talking about. After World War II, the victorious Allied powers divided control of Austria and its capital city, Vienna. This stage lasted from 1945 to 1955 as the Western powers (the U.S., Great Britain, and France) confronted their previous ally, the Soviet Union. As a consequence, both sides—West as well as East—had their spies entrenched and embattled in Vienna for a decade.
The problems caused by divided control of Berlin culminated in the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and then ultimately its tearing down in 1989. The historic period of a divided Vienna is less well known, and Austria’s geographic location—providing a nexus between East and West—ensured that tensions would remain high even after Austria gained self-government in 1955. Fourteen years after that, I will plunk my poor unsuspecting amateur sleuth into a hornet’s nest of spies.
All that political turmoil lends itself to drama, intrigue, and murder. So you bet I can hardly wait to dig into Vienna. While Austin Starr will come along for the ride—at least in my brain—my three house rabbits have to stay home with the dog. But don’t worry about them too much. The live-in pet sitter we hire spoils them rotten while we are away.
Kay Kendall is a long-time fan of historical mysteries and now writes atmospheric mysteries that capture the spirit and turbulence of the sixties. She is also an award-winning international PR executive who lives in Texas with her husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Terribly allergic to the bunnies, she loves them anyway! Her book titles show she’s a Bob Dylan buff too. RAINY DAY WOMEN publishes on July 7 and is the second in her Austin Starr mystery series. The E-book version is available for pre-order now and the trade paperback will be soon.