TITLE: A Place to Live
A sixty-year old American woman has found her ideal attic apartment in Vienna, a perfect place to live, but her equanimity vanishes when a neighbor across the hall is found dead in her bathtub. An eccentric Viennese detective carries the search for the murderer across Vienna, then on to Berlin and back, while the American woman is trapped in the macabre events in her paradise.
The apartment was small, what the Viennese call a garçonniere, a bachelor apartment; this one was a divided attic room with sloping ceilings, a wood-burning tiled stove and a balcony. That was the real selling-point, a big balcony, big for the size of the garçonniere, with seven big planters in place of railings, like seven tiny gardens. Now, at the end of March, the daffodils in the planters were catching the sun and blowing, as they always did up here, in the wind. The house was very quiet on a Sunday morning. The house was usually quiet; the only disturbance was when the landlord, Herr Zimmermann, was shouting on the telephone, or yelling at his lady-friend, or playing his TV loudly—he was deaf and frequently forgot his hearing aids. He lived in the middle of the house, and he was surely the center of it. But apart from him, it was a very quiet house. On this particular Sunday, the peace of the house was shattered in a way no one expected in the residential district called Döbling, known locally as a “noble district,” the word “noble” nowadays having a mocking sound, used less by residents of the area than by those who could not afford to live there. And what turned up in that quiet house on that perfect Viennese spring morning was surely anything but noble.
Eleanor sat at the table in her window looking out at her daffodils.