OVERRIDE

Our Man in Vienna

Richard Timothy Conroy

Thomas Dunne Books

The wit and charm that marked Our Man in Belize enlivens Richard Timothy Conroy's new "diplomatic memoir," in a posting that couldn't have a more different location. But the wheels of lower-level diplomacy, it turns out, turn at the same rate whatever the setting. Plucked from the cost of Central America and put down in post-World-War II Vienna, land of Der Rosencavalier and whipped cream cakes, Conroy still was "not mentioned in dispatches" (or at least, not complimentary ones) but even a lowly vice-consul could do some good in people's lives.

Take, for example, his effort to help a woman flee Vienna after she reported that someone was sneaking into her room and slicing off a bit of her foot each night. Or the unfortunate Austrian whose visa application had been rejected three previous times, with no explanation. Conroy discovered that there was a picture of the man in a Red Army sergeant's uniform. Turned out the man had conned a gullible Red Army soldier to lend him the uniform for a snapshot, and an equally gullible group of Russian border guards that he was an undercover Red agent posing as (what he really was) an export-import businessman. Nobody before Conroy had bothered to ask for an explanation.

In between similar tales of deep diplomatic deed and misdeed, the author gives his readers an imitable take on the Vienna of those days. Want to buy a second-hand piano? Some inexpensive paintings? How about -- above all -- that famous Viennese food and beer? You could have found it there with Conroy as your guide; failing that, his account of those days is just as rewarding and not nearly as fattening.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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1
The Sergeant
Consular Section, Armerican Embassy, Vienna,
Austria, April 1963
He sat glaring at me. I knew that look from somewhere. He drew on his cigarette while I searched my memory, mentally air-brushing out the flag behind his desk and the State Department—issue mug shot of J. F. Kennedy, and everything else in the room, leaving only the grim, death’s head and those eyes, boring through my outer layers, searching for my wormlike soul.
No luck. Something familiar, but not quite the same. I set to work. Mentally, I revolved his head ninety degrees. A trick I had,
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Richard Timothy Conroy

  • Richard Timothy Conroy was born in a mining town in the Tennessee mountains. After a time making H-bombs in Oak Ridge, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service and served in Zurich, Belize, and Vienna. He then transferred to the Smithsonian Institution, where he worked as an international liaison until he retired to write and play the piano.
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Our Man in Vienna

Richard Timothy Conroy

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Thomas Dunne Books

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