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A grotesque figure burst into the girl’s room. Its head piled with fake curls, its face concealed behind a smiling mask, it wore the rubber gloves of a surgeon or perhaps a mortuary attendant. It seized the girl from behind and chloroformed, suffocated, and finally, decapitated her.
Hers was only one in a series of horrendous murders by a killer who played games with the police, always mailing them cryptic bits of poetry—baffling clues to the identity of his next victim.
The Menorah, the symbol of Judaism, was thought to have been destroyed 2000 years ago, but now ancient scrolls have been discovered attesting to its survival. A young professor of semitics investigates, and finds his life endangered.
The Night of Wenceslas, Lionel Davidson’s first novel, concerns Nicolas Whistler—24 years old, debt-ridden and thwarted in his attempts to rise in what was once the family business. Nicolas is conspired to take a trip from London to Prague, ostensibly to smuggle out some industrial secrets. But the secrets are, in fact, atomic, and Nicolas lets himself in for more than he bargained.
Davidson’s award-winning novel is a crisp thriller which offers, as the careful plans unravel, glimpses of the Czech-emigre network in England, and of the inner workings of the British Embassy in Prague.