This is a wonderful gripping read. Set in the hyperinflationary, chaotic Berlin of the 1920s, and filled with characters that would be at home in any Eric Ambler, Franklin paints a picture of Berlin in the worst throes of economic collapse. Nick is a night club owner, favorite of those in power, those who fill their various needs at his various clubs. But ever on the look out for new sources of income, he hears of a mysterious woman locked away in an asylum. Could she be the true Anastasia? Whether yes or no he would like a chance at making some money from the possibility. Esther has a dramatic scar across her face, and more where that one came from. Yet she also possesses an education and a facility with language that secures her work with Nick. Together they work to sell this Anastasia. There is one small problem however. The large man who threw “Anastasia” into a freezing river keeps coming back. People keep getting dead. The deaths seem to follow the woman who Nick names Anna Anderson. Detective Schmidt enters the case, and the book truly picks up from there. Is Anna Anderson the real Anastasia? Who is the mysterious killer? What lies in Esther’s secret past? All takes place against a palette of the Nazi rise to power. We see some of how that transformation looked to those on the scene. It took me a while to truly get into the book, a hundred pages or so. But once in, it was a total page turner. I hated having to interrupt reading for the mundanities (is that a word?) of travel, sleep, work. Although I would not characterize this as classically great literature, it is nonetheless a gripping read that thrills while opening a window to a dark period and place in history.