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Rayne, Sarah - 'Roots of Evil'
Paperback: 584 pages (Apr. 2006) Publisher: Pocket Books ISBN: 0743489659

ROOTS OF EVIL is the third mystery by the pseudonymous writer Sarah Rayne and the powerful qualities first demonstrated in her earlier novels are continued and perhaps enhanced in this new mystery.

I was hooked by this author very soon into reading this very exciting story and the 584 pages just seemed to fly by!

The story ultimately revolves around a girl named Alice whom in the 1920s was in service as a chambermaid to a Lady named Nina who lived with her grand family in Vienna. One night there was a lavish ball, at the grand house that they all lived in, and the beau of Lady Nina made it apparent that he preferred Alice the maid, to Lady Nina. Alice spent the night with him, but got in terrible trouble with Lady Nina and her family the following day. So much so, that she ran away, but what little money she had ran out very quickly and she had to resort to prostitution to stay alive.

Because her English name was difficult for her customers, she decided to alter it to the Baroness Lucretia von Wolff. Eventually she re-met her former employer's ex-boy friend and they started living together and she became a silent-screen actress. This was very successful but then history took over and the Nazis marched into Vienna and arrested her and ultimately she ended up in a concentration camp where some dreadful things happened.

This multi-layered story also revolves around several gruesome murders that occurred in the British former film studio used by Baroness Lucretia von Wolff, after she finally leaves Auschwitz in 1945.

The quality of the very descriptive writing is superb you can really imagine the bleak, almost creepy, thoughts of the character called Edmund who has sanity problems and talks to inner voices that he hears, the voices of people that he has killed in some quite horrific ways.

This book is absolutely engrossing, with a thoroughly compelling story and superb characters and descriptions that I will remember for a very long time.

Terry Halligan, England
February 2007

last updated 25/02/2007 10:02