Pearce, author of the Cairo-based Mamur Zapt series, introduces Seymour, the London-based inspector sent, by default, to Trieste to locate a vanished diplomat. The time is 1910, and the city, at the top of the Adriatic, is a mere bomb’s toss from Bosnia, Serbia, and a hornet’s nest of squabbling statelets from which will soon come World War One. As always, the characters are lively and interesting, the humor sly and gentle, the plot complex: anarchists, artists, secret police, the pomp of a crumbling, uniform-ridden empire, aspirations political and personal. No serious violence, no obscenities, Seymour’s love life treated with discretion…a very pleasant read with a lot of quirky characters. A 4. Sex not even on the charts.