Rosa, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


In November 1918, socialist revolution sweeps across Germany, transforming Berlin, already ravaged by war, into a political battleground. Four women from the slums are discovered dead, all with identical markings on their back.

When the fifth turns out to be Rosa Luxemburg, a leader of the suppressed socialist uprising, the political police complicate the investigations of Detective Inspector Nicolai Hoffner and his assistant Hans Fichte. Rabb brings to life a world capital on the brink of chaos, a tragic revolutionary who inspired and enraged in equal measure, and a compellingly complex, world-weary, deeply flawed but brilliant inspector, Nikolai Hoffner. "...a novel so richly drawn, so dark and so compelling it reaches into your gut and holds on tight..." Detroit Free Press "a ghostly noir that could have been conspired at by Raymond Chandler and Andre Malraux." Harper's "Rabb wields a deft and chilling pen." Richmond Times Dispatch "The hallmarks of Jonathan Rabb's writing are impeccable research, extraordinary attention to detail, superb style and a deep respect for his readers." Charles Middleburgh,


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages, Illustrations, 1 map
  • Publisher: Halban Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781905559046



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The title here refers to the socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg; indeed, the action in this book takes place just after her death in 1919.Obviously, she is not the main character, but her death is a central element in this most ingenious novel. Nikolai Hoffner is an inspector in post-war Germany's Kriminalpolizei(Kripo), and he leads the investigation of a series of bizarrre murders in which the killer engraves patterns in his victims' backs with a knife after he kills them. One of the bodies that he is called out to see turns out to be that of Luxemburg, and it too has the strange markings. Because it is Rosa's body, however, Hoffner finds himself and his investigation being thwarted, as the case now finds its way into more political channels. But Hoffner can't give up the case no matter what.Hoffner is a very flawed individual, making his character just that much more believable. In fact, all of the characters are portrayed rather well. The author takes on a noirish tone in this book, which was engrossing from beginning to end. I would definitely recommend it to people interested in historical fiction, or who want something decidedly different on their to be read stack of mystery novels. Be warned...this is not a touchy-feely, feel good kind of novel -- it's gritty and realistic. Simply excellent reading -- and there's another Nikolai Hoffner novel coming out in 2009. I'll be there.

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