There are no flowers, either, in this intense crime investigation among the British World War II survivors -- except for their scent, differentiated in two different and significant perfumes, only one of which is Chanel No. 5.
But there are Jews, real and mistaken (here's another English flower name, the "stinking Benjamin"). Concentration camps. Music lovers, music haters. Parallel lives of people whose roots coincide but whose paths take them into various forms of darkness -- and light, light as both the bath of blessing that washes us clean, and light so intense that it means death: "I am become Death, the destroyer of world," from the Bhagavad Gita as quoted by the "father" of the atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer.
And most of all, there is Inspector Frederick Troy, known mostly as "Troy" and a character of strengths, secrets, persistence, and precisely detailed agony over how murder detection for the police force repeatedly insists on choices that have long-range effects and soul-deep shock waves. Whether he is waiting for his brash brother Rod to process complex griefs about the war, or keeping one-legged hero Angus company on a bender, or witnessing the tears of an Auschwitz survivor, Troy's path takes him into sorrow and fear on a daily basis.
There have already been plenty of reviews of this book, giving parts of the plot lines -- for there are two of them initially, one for a teenaged cellist mistakenly seized in Vienna and bundled into a train headed for the most brutal of German projects, and the second for a physicist caught in holding camps in multiple nations. Inspector Troy's arrival comes about a third of the way into the book, and with that, there's a sort of relief, because with familiar police presence, maybe the confusion of war and displacement will prove to be the warp and woof of a unified and wonderful tapestry.
Note: I persist in being fascinated by the differences in US and UK cover designs. I vote for the train (see above).