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The Taste of Fog
by David Chorlton

After I went to live in Vienna in 1971, I was introduced to the details of a murder that had happened ten years previously and the subsequent arrest of a young man who signed a confession before being tried and found guilty. He was one of my cousins, and our family brought no great credit to itself as it divided between those whose shame outweighed any sense of justice toward him and the few who looked more deeply into the case. One of these was an uncle of mine (and the young man’s) who spent many evenings showing me why the cousin was innocent as well as making an attempt to find the actual perpetrator. I gladly kept him company when he went on his amateur detective missions. They were futile. My uncle disappeared, died a few years later, and I had no idea who it was we had been looking for until years later, after I had moved to Arizona. In 1993, I went to Vienna, sought out another of my uncles, the boy’s father, and copied 450 pages of newspaper articles and documents he had kept from which I was able to piece together the facts of the case. I also contacted a reporter who had written about the case and published his findings in the Austrian press, revealing all but the name of the “Fog Murderer.” He told me that one suspect had been summoned to be questioned for a second time, and that the private citizen whose tip occasioned the summons had urged the police to just go and take him or else he was likely to commit suicide. A summons was delivered. He was found dead a day later in his apartment filled with gas and the stove still leaking it. I wondered what could have happened if there had been no summons. This book is fiction, a tale of what if . . .