Vespers in Vienna Author:Bruce Marshall An enchanting story of Vienna in 1946. The 3/4 rhythm of the waltz may have given way to the rumble of jeeps and the throb of swing music in Allied officers' clubs, but the tranquil routine in the convent of the Daughters of the Holy Ghost remains the same. Not even the arrival of the British Colonel and his staff for billeting at the convent ... more »upsets the devotions of Rev Mother Auxilia and her flock.
Colonel Nicobar represents the best type of military man. Just as Father Smith saw through the stuffiness of many of his fellow priests, so Colonel Nicobar sees through the stuffiness of many of his fellow officers. Along with this sense of duty and discipline go a questioning mind and a contemplative wit. His immediate entourage is varied, to say the least. There are Senior Subaltern Quail, whose lush curves, crimson toenails, and political misconceptions are ardently pursued by all the military missions in Vienna; Sergeant Moonlight, whose romantic name belies his solid Cockney disposition; and Major Twingo, who falls desperately in love with a beautiful Volkdeutsche being sheltered by the nuns from Soviet officials.
The directives of His Majesty's Govt were simple: 'to rehabilitate Austria.' Colonel Nicobar's special responsibility was Displaced Persons. As the novel progresses this becomes a much more complex responsibility than the directive implies, unfolding an exciting story, with a romantic background, amusing minor incidents, and a poignant climax. The contrast between the serenity of the convent and the frenzied hotel life of the occupying troops makes Vienna new all over again.« less