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In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan’s wealthiest heiresses Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind’s most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as F In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan’s wealthiest heiresses Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind’s most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as Freud disembarks from the steamship George Washington, accompanied by Carl Jung, his rival and protégé. Across town, in an opulent apartment high above the city, a stunning young woman is found dangling from a chandelier—whipped, mutilated, and strangled. The next day, a second beauty—a rebellious heiress who scorns both high society and her less adventurous parents—barely escapes the killer. Yet Nora Acton, suffering from hysteria, can recall nothing of her attack. Asked to help her, Dr. Stratham Younger, America’s most committed Freudian analyst, calls in his idol, the Master himself, to guide him through the challenges of analyzing this high-spirited young woman whose family past has been as complicated as his own. The Interpretation of Murder leads readers from the salons of Gramercy Park, through secret passages, to Chinatown—even far below the currents of the East River where laborers are building the Manhattan Bridge. As Freud fends off a mysterious conspiracy to destroy him, Younger is drawn into an equally thrilling adventure that takes him deep into the subterfuges of the human mind. Richly satisfying, elegantly crafted, The Interpretation of Murder marks the debut of a brilliant, spectacularly entertaining new storyteller. In 2007 The Interpretation of Murder won the prestigious Best Read of the Year award from Richard and Judy's Bookclub in the UK (comparable to Oprah Winfrey in the USA).


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In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan’s wealthiest heiresses Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind’s most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as F In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan’s wealthiest heiresses Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind’s most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as Freud disembarks from the steamship George Washington, accompanied by Carl Jung, his rival and protégé. Across town, in an opulent apartment high above the city, a stunning young woman is found dangling from a chandelier—whipped, mutilated, and strangled. The next day, a second beauty—a rebellious heiress who scorns both high society and her less adventurous parents—barely escapes the killer. Yet Nora Acton, suffering from hysteria, can recall nothing of her attack. Asked to help her, Dr. Stratham Younger, America’s most committed Freudian analyst, calls in his idol, the Master himself, to guide him through the challenges of analyzing this high-spirited young woman whose family past has been as complicated as his own. The Interpretation of Murder leads readers from the salons of Gramercy Park, through secret passages, to Chinatown—even far below the currents of the East River where laborers are building the Manhattan Bridge. As Freud fends off a mysterious conspiracy to destroy him, Younger is drawn into an equally thrilling adventure that takes him deep into the subterfuges of the human mind. Richly satisfying, elegantly crafted, The Interpretation of Murder marks the debut of a brilliant, spectacularly entertaining new storyteller. In 2007 The Interpretation of Murder won the prestigious Best Read of the Year award from Richard and Judy's Bookclub in the UK (comparable to Oprah Winfrey in the USA).

30 review for The Interpretation of Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jaidee

    5 "Lions and Tigers and Freud, Oh My!! Twists and turns along with Carl Jung -why oh why!! A vixen, an ingénue, some psychiatrists and a sexy detective too!! Complex, delicious, fun and macabre- you won't go wrong if you give this a try" STARS !! 6th Favorite Read of 2015 This is just what the doctor ordered as a salve to my recent brain numbing with young adult books. I have not enjoyed a historic literary thriller like this in many years. The last book that I enjoyed this much in this genre was 5 "Lions and Tigers and Freud, Oh My!! Twists and turns along with Carl Jung -why oh why!! A vixen, an ingénue, some psychiatrists and a sexy detective too!! Complex, delicious, fun and macabre- you won't go wrong if you give this a try" STARS !! 6th Favorite Read of 2015 This is just what the doctor ordered as a salve to my recent brain numbing with young adult books. I have not enjoyed a historic literary thriller like this in many years. The last book that I enjoyed this much in this genre was "The Alienist" by Caleb Carr that I read in the late nineties. This book had it all. A twisting and clever plot, historical interest, a primer on psychoanalysis and the Oedipus complex, fascinating characters and it was a thrilling ride from beginning to end. I studied psychoanalytic theory in depth in University and this reignited my passion for Freud and especially Jung. This author knows his material inside and out and has done meticulous research to combine history with fiction. I will not give away any more detail as I would love for you to take a ride into your subconscious by reading this most extraordinary book. I will leave you with a quote by Freud: "Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us from pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces" No I will leave you with a quote by Jaidee: "I am completely satisfied" and no that was not a Freudian slip of the tongue - or was it?

  2. 5 out of 5

    karen

    i'm pretty neutral about this book. it was a fine sortof historical mystery with all the requisite elements like red herrings and dubious intentions and misread signals and girls tied up and whipped, but...eh. and i'm torn, because it is a perennial table book, but i think i might have to regulate its inclusion from now on, because in my opinion, it is all right but no great shakes. maybe people who are really into freud would like it more than i. this is me being too early for class and writing i'm pretty neutral about this book. it was a fine sortof historical mystery with all the requisite elements like red herrings and dubious intentions and misread signals and girls tied up and whipped, but...eh. and i'm torn, because it is a perennial table book, but i think i might have to regulate its inclusion from now on, because in my opinion, it is all right but no great shakes. maybe people who are really into freud would like it more than i. this is me being too early for class and writing in the computer lab...maybe i will let my impressions ferment and write a more full-bodied review this evening. now i must learn! nope - nothing fruitful came from the fermenting. and i didn't learn anything except that this teacher presupposes a certain computer-vocabulary which i lack, and i am skeered that i will not be the best student in this class. and now i am ill and have a fever and i can only assume i caught swine flu from my computer class. rrrr come to my blog!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Psychoanalysis The Interpretation of Murder is an intelligent and considered crime thriller, probably trying to create the first instance of 'serial killer profiling' before the science was developed. The murder of a young woman is followed by a similar attempt using the same modus operandi, however, this lady (Miss Acton) survives but it leaves her with amnesia. Detective Littlemore needs to find out what she knows before the killer strikes again or comes back to finish the job. Littlemore works Psychoanalysis The Interpretation of Murder is an intelligent and considered crime thriller, probably trying to create the first instance of 'serial killer profiling' before the science was developed. The murder of a young woman is followed by a similar attempt using the same modus operandi, however, this lady (Miss Acton) survives but it leaves her with amnesia. Detective Littlemore needs to find out what she knows before the killer strikes again or comes back to finish the job. Littlemore works with her doctor, Dr Younger, to assist in the case. Dr Younger is acquainted with Sigmund Freud and quite fortuitously involves him to help in the case. This creates an interesting and intriguing perspective and introduces a new dynamic to the typical murder mystery. I felt quite drawn to the idea that Freud could have assisted in a murder investigation. I can’t attest to the accuracy of the science of psychoanalysis but from a plot perspective, I felt it was weaved in quite well and wasn't heavily applied. I quite like the notion that Freud when visiting New York in 1909, assisted a murder investigation using his newly famed techniques. There is also a great attempt to recreate the atmosphere and landscape of New York City at the turn of the last century and perhaps this was overemphasised, almost to the point that the author had invested a lot of time researching that period, and wasn’t going to be short-changed. The narrative has a more sedate pace than most murder mysteries but I think that’s the pace of a deep-thinking and analysing Freud. Freud's contribution provides some benefit in solving the crime and finding the killer. This wasn’t the best murder mystery but still provided an entertaining read. I would recommend the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kitty

    I did not just like this book, I LOVED it. And on so many levels. I found it clever, informative, well written and even humorous at times. The characters were interesting and I was kept guessing even when I pretty much decided I knew what was going on. This was really a page turner, especially when they were down in the caisson. I could so visualize that. This is my new "You gotta read this book" recommendation. The Freud, Jung and Shakespeare inclusions was an added bonus. Loved the early 1900 I did not just like this book, I LOVED it. And on so many levels. I found it clever, informative, well written and even humorous at times. The characters were interesting and I was kept guessing even when I pretty much decided I knew what was going on. This was really a page turner, especially when they were down in the caisson. I could so visualize that. This is my new "You gotta read this book" recommendation. The Freud, Jung and Shakespeare inclusions was an added bonus. Loved the early 1900 terminology and if I were an underliner and highliter of books, the book would all be marked up. Brilliant.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Coy

    When I sit down to what I hope will be a great meal, I look forward to the side dishes, but it's the main course that is central. Don't get me wrong, I love potatoes, but give me the steak! Interpretation of Murder is a side dish and not a potato side dish, more like peas or carrots or something. Reading the author's notes at the end of the book gave me a better appreciation of the novel. I respect that it was well-researched, but to borrow from the same analogy, I like a little history with my s When I sit down to what I hope will be a great meal, I look forward to the side dishes, but it's the main course that is central. Don't get me wrong, I love potatoes, but give me the steak! Interpretation of Murder is a side dish and not a potato side dish, more like peas or carrots or something. Reading the author's notes at the end of the book gave me a better appreciation of the novel. I respect that it was well-researched, but to borrow from the same analogy, I like a little history with my story, not the other way around. This book was sort of textbookish, though not quite as much as the "Devil in the White City", which was also not as good as I'd hoped. The author (or publisher or someone) goes out of his or her way to compare this book to "The Alienist". It compares, but palely. I didn't really care that much about the characters. Most of the characters were based on real historical people, but the character I liked the most was the detective, who was completely fictional. I'm torn on rating this one. It's either a two or a three star. It's interesting, but not too. It's well-researched and I like that, but I don't like it enough to make that criterion carry enough weight to help it sail to the top of my rating scale. It was an obvious copy of a great book. If it would have been a great copy then I would have given it a higher rating. I guess I'll have to go with a two star. It might have got a three and probably earned it except that I expected more out of this book. It disappointed me. I would recommend this to you if you go to a beach house with your friends and you either forgot to bring something to read or finished what you brought and the library of the house you rented consists only of old Highlights Magazines and decorative books about ships.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Sigmund Freud, along with his protege Carl Jung, arrives in New York for a series of lectures at Clark University in Massachusetts. A young woman is murdered, apparently by a serial killer. Another young woman, Nora Acton, is suffering from amnesia after another attack by the same criminal. Dr. Stratham Younger, a high society Freud acolyte, undertakes a psychoanalysis of Nora, in the hopes of unraveling the mystery. I wanted to like The Interpretation of Murder. I really did. It had an intrigui Sigmund Freud, along with his protege Carl Jung, arrives in New York for a series of lectures at Clark University in Massachusetts. A young woman is murdered, apparently by a serial killer. Another young woman, Nora Acton, is suffering from amnesia after another attack by the same criminal. Dr. Stratham Younger, a high society Freud acolyte, undertakes a psychoanalysis of Nora, in the hopes of unraveling the mystery. I wanted to like The Interpretation of Murder. I really did. It had an intriguing premise: a murder mystery, set in 1909 New York City, with Freud, Jung, and Ferenczi as characters. (I realize this description is probably more or less congruent with some people's vision of Hell, but it's right up my alley.) But if there's anything worse than a mystery that isn't especially clever, it's a mystery that thinks it's clever when it isn't, and this mystery is nowhere near as clever as author Jed Rubenfeld thinks it is. Rubenfeld has ambition, but unfortunately, doesn't have the writing chops to keep up with it. The reader forges ahead, puzzled, as Rubenfeld throws out approximately one zillion plot lines, none of which seems to have much to do with the other. Freud, Jung, and Ferenczi arrive and talk a lot about various psychoanalytic theories and analysands. Younger psychoanalyzes Nora (Hey! Doesn't Nora rhyme with "Dora"? My word, I think it does! What a coincidence) and talks a lot about his family life and his fascination with Hamlet, in more or less equal measure. We learn a lot about the history of turn of the century New York and the dynasties that ran it. Then a sinister series of anonymous letters threatens to ruin Freud's reputation. Harry Thaw, confined in an insane asylum in New Jersey after murdering architect Stanford White, receives mysterious visitors wearing signet rings. And so forth. Unfortunately, Rubenfeld isn't a skillful enough novelist to craft these plot lines into something coherent, so the reader is given, well, a series of plot lines that eventually lurch to an end. (In fact, I'm still at a bit of a loss as to what Freud and Jung were doing there at all.) Add to this sorry mess a host of clunky dialog, points of view that shift clumsily (sometimes in the span of two paragraphs), and a lot of pedestrian writing, and you're left with nothing more than a run-of-the-mill mystery doing its best to masquerade as something far more sophisticated than it actually is. I gave this novel two stars instead of one simply because the book's premise was enough to keep me turning the pages until the end (and also because Rubenfeld is obviously no fan of Jung, which makes him okay in my book).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed M. Sheikh

    More reviews on https://mohammedsreview.wordpress.com The story is set on 1909 Manhattan, New York when Sigmund Freud and his companions was visiting USA to attend a conference at the Clark University. When a dèbutante is found dead on her own penthouse and the very next day another young beautiful heiress Nora Acton is found strangled to a chandelier and viciously wounded and top of this she can't talk and enable to recall the recent events that happened to her. Dr. Stratham Younger who will now More reviews on https://mohammedsreview.wordpress.com The story is set on 1909 Manhattan, New York when Sigmund Freud and his companions was visiting USA to attend a conference at the Clark University. When a dèbutante is found dead on her own penthouse and the very next day another young beautiful heiress Nora Acton is found strangled to a chandelier and viciously wounded and top of this she can't talk and enable to recall the recent events that happened to her. Dr. Stratham Younger who will now perform the psychoanalysis on miss Nora acton to find the puzzles that will make a full picture and help to identify the criminal. Most of characters are from real world and most of the story is based on real facts. The story is mostly narrated from a first persons(Dr. Younger) point of view. Loved the way how the author have managed to link the neurological theories to solve a murder case from two perspectives. One from Dr. Statham Younger influenced by Sigmund Freud himself, and another from the detective Jimmy Littlemore's perspective. Sigmund Freud undoubtedly one of the most influential man from the last century, and probably and controversial theory he had give is about Oedipal Complex in his famous book that published back in 1899 The Interpretation of dreams. Oedipal complex is the core of this story. Sigmund Freud along with Carl Jung , Sándor Ferenczi and Abraham Brill did travel to attend a conference at the Clark University which "The Triumvirate" (Consists of Charles Dana, Bernard Sachs and M. Allen Starr ) did try to prevent Sigmund Freud to attend the conference cause they had oppose  idea about Oedipal Complex, though they failed in the process. Nora Acton who is one of the main characters of this novel is based on Sigmund Freud's Case book of Dora. Also George B. McClellan who served as New York city mayor at that time had a important role in this plot. There are other historical characters who had a significant role on the overall settings. It's evident that a lot had happened at 1909 at the New York city and everything and every signal people who were part of these event had some sort of their share on this whole plot. It's amazing how the author have managed to use all those historical characters and real events that happened to stage a fictional murder case. Incredibly complex plot, use of the real characters,use the neurological terms,liked the detailing of the story,sometimes it may seem to make the story becoming sluggish but the this book demands those detailing's. it's simply worth reading. Rating : 3.9/5

  8. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    I devoured this book in the sense that it was easy to read and lots of plot twists to keep you interested. the factual parts added a touch of realism to a fictional story, even if some weren't accurate for the time ( a point the author acknowledges). My rating is to reflect that this genre is not my favourite and this book would not change my opinion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Cooper

    This book was difficult and slow to read. I liked the whole idea of the story, but I did't feel like I connected with any of the characters in the story. When the author started a new chapter and brought in a different character with it, I kept not even knowing who they were talking about. I had to go back and refresh my memory of who was who. To be honest the characters descriptions were really bad. The author did his best to add tension to the whole book but half the time this tension just wou This book was difficult and slow to read. I liked the whole idea of the story, but I did't feel like I connected with any of the characters in the story. When the author started a new chapter and brought in a different character with it, I kept not even knowing who they were talking about. I had to go back and refresh my memory of who was who. To be honest the characters descriptions were really bad. The author did his best to add tension to the whole book but half the time this tension just wound me up. I thought his writing style was amateur and I thought the end was a let down because everything I had read, all of my ideas I had thought out about the ending were all wrong and it was dissapointing. It could be called a twist but I call it a rubbish and boring end. There are many qualitys to this author, the idea of the book was good. the characters themselves were good but just needed more explaination and etail given so that the reader can paint the picture of them. And he has a good plot, he just needs to move the story quicker add more exciting deaths and this would be a lot better. I was very dissapointed though...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rowland Pasaribu

    SWEET GREEN HELL Her entire body glistened in the unbearable August heat. Her long legs were bare, as were her arms. Her elegant shoulders were nearly bare as well. The girl’s consciousness was fading. She tried to speak. There was a question she had to ask. It was there; it was gone. Then she had it again. ‘My name,’ she whispered. ‘What is my name?’ "... So, is Nora still a victim when she is empowered by a sympathetic listener?" Feel like there's class conflict in the book: psychoanalysis versus SWEET GREEN HELL Her entire body glistened in the unbearable August heat. Her long legs were bare, as were her arms. Her elegant shoulders were nearly bare as well. The girl’s consciousness was fading. She tried to speak. There was a question she had to ask. It was there; it was gone. Then she had it again. ‘My name,’ she whispered. ‘What is my name?’ "... So, is Nora still a victim when she is empowered by a sympathetic listener?" Feel like there's class conflict in the book: psychoanalysis versus interrogation, Jung versus Freud; Acton versus Banwell; Chong versus Leon; Malley and Betty, etc. Or interest and smart bout how has the author's mix of fact and fiction, remembering me with previous New York novels, such as The Alienist, Ragtime, Dreamland: A Novel, Paradise Alley, etc. So, let's open the door... Jed Rubenfeld takes his place in literary entertainment with grand eloquence in his first novel, The Interpretation of Murder, published by Henry Holt. This dandy psychological murder mystery is chockfull of history, biography, and geography. This would overwhelm a lesser writer, but Rubenfeld’s mastery of the subject matter, pacing, and sheer storytelling verve propels the reader into New York 1909, and puts the reader into the chase for a vicious, sadistic killer. The novel begins as Dr. Sigmund Freud arrives in New York to deliver a series of lectures on the – at that point – very controversial subject. Dr. Stratham Younger, an American psychoanalyst, is appointed by the university to act as liaison officer for Dr. Freud. Several key members of Freud’s group of therapists are with him, including Carl Jung, the father of psychoanalysis’s most ambitious student, who ultimately tries to overtake his mentor’s glory. Soon after Dr. Freud’s arrival, Dr. Younger is summoned to a case involving an attack on 17-year-old Nora Acton, daughter to two influential people in the city’s high society circles. The victim of a sadist, Nora was choked, whipped, and cut with a knife. The experience has left her with amnesia and bereft of voice. Dr. Freud offers the opinion that her case would be an excellent choice for Dr. Younger. As he pursues therapy with the young woman, Dr. Younger finds himself entranced with Nora’s beauty and vulnerability. However, Nora’s returning memory proves false when she accuses the mayor’s friend, George Banwell with attacking her. Banwell is a married man and a rejected suitor of Nora’s who – she says – won’t take no for an answer. However, the night Nora was attacked, Banwell has the perfect alibi: he was with the mayor. The mystery continues getting richer and deeper as Littlemore proceeds on a parallel course that turns up other clues. As it turns out, Nora wasn’t the only woman attacked, tied up, strangled, and whipped in such a manner. At least one other woman was, and she’s now dead. However, her body has gone missing from the morgue. Littlemore doesn’t know if the corpse was sold to the medical schools or if its disappearance is part of a cover-up. Rubenfeld sets each scene with deft assurance. While reading the novel, I easily could imagine the city. I stood on the docks and awaited Dr. Freud’s ship, and could even smell the man’s harsh cigar smoke. As the story progressed from the luxury hotels and high society events to the narrow, twisting alleys, and to houses of prostitution and police holding cells, those scenes filled without thousands of extras came alive. In the afterword, Rubenfeld acknowledges using the New York City geography as he needed to, but very few changes took place. The book is elegantly resourced and researched according to the time, place, and social mores. Rubenfeld’s depiction of Freud is based on a familiarity with the man through a thesis he wrote while at Princeton. Later, at Julliard, Rubenfeld studied Shakespeare, and Hamlet – which maintains a presence throughout the novel as well – becomes a topic that will interest many readers even if they’re not well-versed in the subject. Taking his marks from the current successful thriller-writers, Rubenfeld gracefully intertwines Dr. Stratham Younger’s first-person narrative with third-person viewpoints of other characters (including the marvelous Detective Littlemore). The book would have been interesting through the eyes of Dr. Younger alone, but by building in the larger cast of characters, each with their own parts to play, the story takes on added dimensions that really incite the reader to turn pages. An investment of time is required through the first quarter of the book. Rubenfeld sets a number of things into motion and takes time to make his New York expansive and deep, the characters rich and vibrant .(Detective Littlemore creeps in from nowhere, it seems, and very nearly succeeds in taking over the book at one point.) But after that initial investment, you need to block out the time to finish the novel because you’re in for a late night. Rubenfeld exercises a siren call, working dexterously with a small cast of suspects, pulling blind after double-blind, with enough twists and turns to satisfy a James Patterson or Jeffrey Deaver fan. The Interpretation of Murder is truly a magnificent book - sprawling, epic, and jaw-dropping all at the same time. Anyone who can put it down 150 pages from the end has more willpower than I. After Littlemore figured out how Seamus Malley met his death, the plot simply explodes into action, and I had to struggle to keep up with all the twists and turns, which ultimately made perfect sense. The mystery is satisfying, but so is the commentary on society at the time, the resistance of scientific thinking to psychoanalysis, and even the relationship between Freud and Jung. I can only hope Rubenfeld gets more opportunities to return to this exciting world and bring his readers more adventures of Dr. Younger and Lieutenant Littlemore.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    An "ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller"? Ingenious, try confusing. Suspenseful, more like wading through sludge and wondering when you will reach the end. Thriller, any drama was short lived and shrouded in Freudianisms. I've also seen "spectacular, fiendishly clever, heart in the mouth read, impossible to put down, intriguing mystery, accomplished thriller and dazzling novel." If a book really was this awesomely, fantastically, amazing, I'd expect the average reader to enjoy it whether An "ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller"? Ingenious, try confusing. Suspenseful, more like wading through sludge and wondering when you will reach the end. Thriller, any drama was short lived and shrouded in Freudianisms. I've also seen "spectacular, fiendishly clever, heart in the mouth read, impossible to put down, intriguing mystery, accomplished thriller and dazzling novel." If a book really was this awesomely, fantastically, amazing, I'd expect the average reader to enjoy it whether or not they usually read the genre. It just goes to show that you can never really trust reviews because people are not being realistic.... There were interesting elements in this historical fiction mystery which is set at the time of Freud's visit to America in the early 1900's. I didn't think the author did enough to connect Freud and his ideas to the actual mystery though, it was all a big vague. Although I read the whole novel, it was a struggle and I didn't really care who was apparently murdering young women by the end. That said, it is well written and the scenes and characters are well developed. I guess I just didn't connect with the story itself. There is a fair bit of sexual content in this book including references to incest and thoughts of incest. There is obviously some violence although it isn't too graphic. There is some mild language and one or two uses of strong language. I wouldn't bother with the next in the series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    minnie

    Is it possible to be totally gripped and bored rigid at the same time ? That’s how I was for most of this book, the writing style I found stilted at first but the murder plot kept me going. Ultimately this was a bit of a let down as the plot was so convoluted, all the loose ends were tied up ‘Columbo’ style at the end. The best character was detective Littlemore, he was the only one I had any feeling for, in fact Littlemore and Younger as a detective duo were great. This book is to Psychoanalysi Is it possible to be totally gripped and bored rigid at the same time ? That’s how I was for most of this book, the writing style I found stilted at first but the murder plot kept me going. Ultimately this was a bit of a let down as the plot was so convoluted, all the loose ends were tied up ‘Columbo’ style at the end. The best character was detective Littlemore, he was the only one I had any feeling for, in fact Littlemore and Younger as a detective duo were great. This book is to Psychoanalysis and Freud ,what The Da Vinci Code is to Holy Grail devotees!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aretha

    Very disappointing...last time i listen to blimin' Richard and Judy!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Arun Divakar

    Quite a long period of time had passed since I read a whodunit. It was more of an impulse that made me pick up this book while walking the shelves at the library. I remember reading the blurb on the back page and thinking back to Caleb Carr's Alienist and then deciding on giving this one a try. It is an extremely light and breezy read. I was juggling three books at the same time and could only get to this by late Friday and even then could finish it by a Sunday evening. Contrary to my own prej Quite a long period of time had passed since I read a whodunit. It was more of an impulse that made me pick up this book while walking the shelves at the library. I remember reading the blurb on the back page and thinking back to Caleb Carr's Alienist and then deciding on giving this one a try. It is an extremely light and breezy read. I was juggling three books at the same time and could only get to this by late Friday and even then could finish it by a Sunday evening. Contrary to my own prejudice, even after having real life intellectual giants like Jung & Freud as part of the star cast, the mystery at the center of the plot was pretty straight and bland. One reason could be that even after branding this as a mystery starring Freud, the psychoanalyst and his even more famous protege continue to be more of an awe inspiring drapery hung in the background than being actively involved in the goings on. I guess there was only so much artistic freedom that the author wanted to use in his plot. I am not much familiar with either Jung or Freud ( their literature or their personalities) but here in this plot Jung is more of a petulant and sulking child almost all the time. He behaves like a patient with perennial constipation for someone with an extremely perceptive mind. I do not know how much of that is true ! As for the rest of the plot, I follow the golden rule for a whodunit : Don't ask, Don't tell ( unless you have read the book !) I rate it two stars for this is not my kind of mystery. But this is a pretty good book to pass a dull afternoon if you are in the mood for a bit of deduction in the historic setting. The background is detailed out well and the image of NY in the 1900's is very much alive in these pages.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Phoebe

    What a disappointment! I really thought I'd like this because initially it looked like it might be a blend of history, psychology, literature, & criminal investigation. Those things did provide some satisfaction, but at times it read as if the author had simply copy/pasted his college papers on Freud or Hamlet into the text, resulting in a dry, disjointed lack of continuity. Mostly what ruined this story was the unnecessarily detailed descriptions of the sadistic sexual assaults, described in pro What a disappointment! I really thought I'd like this because initially it looked like it might be a blend of history, psychology, literature, & criminal investigation. Those things did provide some satisfaction, but at times it read as if the author had simply copy/pasted his college papers on Freud or Hamlet into the text, resulting in a dry, disjointed lack of continuity. Mostly what ruined this story was the unnecessarily detailed descriptions of the sadistic sexual assaults, described in prolonged lip-smacking detail. Yuk. Also repellent is the therapist's subsequent eroticization of his patient, the very young female victim who'd been assaulted & traumatized. In addition to portraying the disturbing lack of ethics on the part of the therapist (our hero?) as if this is no problem, clearly the author has no clue about the state of a survivor after a traumatic attack. Directly after a sadistic sexual assault, suddenly the victim is hot for her rescuer? Absurd. This novel started with a great idea for an intricate historical/psychological mystery but was ruined by drying it out, dumbing it down, & injecting gratuitous torture porn.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephen McQuiggan

    Freud arrives in America for a series of lectures just as a beautiful heiress is found murdered; the very next night another heiress is found bound and gagged and suffering from amnesia. It seems a perfect opportunity to try out some of the new psycho-analytic techniques, and Freud's disciple, Younger, is only too willing to step forward. When is a murder mystery not a murder mystery? When it is an action novel that has been dunked in a large vat of philosophical musing. The last one hundred page Freud arrives in America for a series of lectures just as a beautiful heiress is found murdered; the very next night another heiress is found bound and gagged and suffering from amnesia. It seems a perfect opportunity to try out some of the new psycho-analytic techniques, and Freud's disciple, Younger, is only too willing to step forward. When is a murder mystery not a murder mystery? When it is an action novel that has been dunked in a large vat of philosophical musing. The last one hundred pages or so are hard to put down, and the revelation, the 'whodunit' if you will, after so many red herrings, is a gratifying surprise. The era is so well recalled here, the sexuality seems almost shocking. A little historical gem.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    One of the best books I have read for years, a real page turner that I couldn't put down!

  18. 4 out of 5

    imts

    "Unhappiness is caused when we cannot let go of our memories." A book based on Sigmund Freud, founder of pyschoanalysis? Who could expect me to resist buying and then reading it? It lived up to my expectations. The characters were flawed but interesting and, later, loveable; the writing style was perfect for such a book; the solution to the mystery itself was one I never could have figured out on my own. Younger's analysis of Hamlet, too, was one I will probably keep in my mind for a while to come "Unhappiness is caused when we cannot let go of our memories." A book based on Sigmund Freud, founder of pyschoanalysis? Who could expect me to resist buying and then reading it? It lived up to my expectations. The characters were flawed but interesting and, later, loveable; the writing style was perfect for such a book; the solution to the mystery itself was one I never could have figured out on my own. Younger's analysis of Hamlet, too, was one I will probably keep in my mind for a while to come.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Bacon

    Good mystery with many twists and turns as well as a little Shakespeare and some psychoanalysis going on with Freud and Jung in the characterization. There were a few times that I had to check to make sure that the time frame of this story was correct. There were times that it felt like it was a bit more modern than than the story was meant to be. I did enjoy it tho.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    There were quite a few things I liked about this book. It brings 1909 New York to vivid life, with meticulously presented and accurate details. It is also nicely written, sounding authentic to the period in all respects. And I really liked a number of characters, including Junger and Littlemore. Last but not least, I truly enjoyed the literary analyses and Freudian theorizing sprinkled throughout. But I hated the implausible, contrived and hastily resolved plot. And the book is remarkably sexist There were quite a few things I liked about this book. It brings 1909 New York to vivid life, with meticulously presented and accurate details. It is also nicely written, sounding authentic to the period in all respects. And I really liked a number of characters, including Junger and Littlemore. Last but not least, I truly enjoyed the literary analyses and Freudian theorizing sprinkled throughout. But I hated the implausible, contrived and hastily resolved plot. And the book is remarkably sexist. It isn't just that the period was oppressive to women, or the deep sexism in Freud's mostly uncritically presented theories. I think the author himself has problems with women -- the female characters are either lifeless caricatures or sex objects. Finally, this book seems to revel in its gratuitous and disturbing sadistic scenes, including an utterly unnecessary episode of appalling animal cruelty. Two big stars off for the bad plotting, sexism, and sadism.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    This falls in the category for me of books read for entertainment. The fact that it contained as characters both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung drew me in, having studied them in school and having been drawn to Jung's work. The Jung portayed here was not the Jung I recall learning about! Not a likeable person. The edition I read contained notes by the author that explained his research and the license he took with historical facts and timelines, which is really a bonus IMHU. Detective Littlemore wa This falls in the category for me of books read for entertainment. The fact that it contained as characters both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung drew me in, having studied them in school and having been drawn to Jung's work. The Jung portayed here was not the Jung I recall learning about! Not a likeable person. The edition I read contained notes by the author that explained his research and the license he took with historical facts and timelines, which is really a bonus IMHU. Detective Littlemore was endearing as the good guy policeman who wouldn't give up. The writing was fine, nothing annoyed me or excited me either way. The number of red herrings seemed to pile up a little over time, but it wasn't a big distraction. A good sort of book for in-between other books when you need a pleasant break!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jess at JessicaWrites.co.uk

    An absolutely phenomenal read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    J

    “No man can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips.” This was a phenomenal read for me! one of the best thrillers I have read so far considering I don't read that many. The book revolves around the famous theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and other famous Psychologists of the era. One of his famous theory is based on Hamlet by Shakespeare. It was a quite a delight to know more about psychology and gain knowledge about the various psychologists.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    This novel is about a murder mystery of Elizabeth Riverford, a young socialite in the impressive Balmoral Hotel, Manhattan and the reputedly accurate recounting of a visit made by Dr Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung to New York in 1909 to speak at American Universities in an age when psychoanalysis is in it's infancy. Although not directly involved in the murder, Dr Freud offers advice to the budding psychoanalyst, Dr Stratham Younger, as to how to treat one of the murderer's surviving victims. The yo This novel is about a murder mystery of Elizabeth Riverford, a young socialite in the impressive Balmoral Hotel, Manhattan and the reputedly accurate recounting of a visit made by Dr Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung to New York in 1909 to speak at American Universities in an age when psychoanalysis is in it's infancy. Although not directly involved in the murder, Dr Freud offers advice to the budding psychoanalyst, Dr Stratham Younger, as to how to treat one of the murderer's surviving victims. The young lady, Nora Acton, has lost her voice and cannot remember the details of her attack, but her injuries are remarkably similar to the murder. Dr Younger finds himself becoming increasingly attracted to the lovely Nora, whose inner thoughts are darker than even Younger can sometimes cope with and involve sexual perversions, convoluted twists and turns and even lies. The detective investigating the murder takes a leading role in the narrative too, which makes this story multi-dimensional and deals with both ends of society, including the union problems of sweatshop workers. Mr Rubenfeld's account of what New York looked, smelled and felt like during the turn the the century when skyscrapers started to rise out of the busy streets was absolutely fascinating. Added to that the fact Dr Younger was also a nephew of Mamie Styvesant Fish and is invited to one of her socialite parties, gives us yet another dimension to this story which I found particularly compelling. Added to the mix of characters are the wealthy industrialist who thinks he is completely beyond the law, together with the Mayor who is in his pocket, a well meaning but inadequate coroner and various city workers who are out for themselves and for whom the truth is a distant concept they have no aspiration for. Carl Jung is portrayed as having serious personality order of his own which degenerates into downright insanity, but the amiable Dr Freud seems unaffected by his raw ambition and seems to want to protect the man. Freud himself also has a physiologically weak bladder, which I felt didn't add much to the story but I'm sure the author had a reason for it. I found the descriptions of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the terrible conditions the workers lived, and died in fascinating. As well as the Caroline Astor/Mrs Vanderbilt feud, Gramercy Park and the houses of the wealthy it served, the onset of mechanical taxicabs in New York – green ones not yellow, was so atmospheric I could see it. This story lots to offer to mystery lovers as well as devotees of old New York and the followers of Freud and Jung. My only criticism of the story would be that the author pontificates at length on the meaning of Hamlet's 'To be or not to be' speech and his procrastination in killing his uncle and has complicated theories which I couldn't help feeling had no place in this story other than to pad out an already very long book – over 200,000 words. I would heartily recommend it for all the reasons I stated earlier and felt my skimming through the 'Hamlet' parts didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book at all.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Avid

    Jed Rubenfield’s book borrows quite a few things from the famous non-fiction book The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud. To start with, the title is intentionally made to look like a spoof on the original book. The author and psychologist, Sigmund Freud is one of the characters in Rubenfield’s book. Several real characters like Carl Jung, Abraham Brill and George McClellan, Mayor of New York City appear in this fictional book. To begin with, I liked the idea of creating a fictional story Jed Rubenfield’s book borrows quite a few things from the famous non-fiction book The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud. To start with, the title is intentionally made to look like a spoof on the original book. The author and psychologist, Sigmund Freud is one of the characters in Rubenfield’s book. Several real characters like Carl Jung, Abraham Brill and George McClellan, Mayor of New York City appear in this fictional book. To begin with, I liked the idea of creating a fictional story out of real-life incidents and characters. The author has a disclaimer that while some of his characters are real and some characters are fictional, the story itself is completely his imagination. Freud visited America only once in his lifetime and is said to have been disappointed with his visit. Rubenfield picked up this fact and weaved his story around it. Around the time when Freud visits America, a young woman is brutally murdered. The next day, another woman is almost murdered in the same way leading to speculations that a serial murderer is on the prowl. The second victim loses her voice and her memory of the incident and this results in engaging Sigmund Freud and our male protagonist Stratham Younger, both psycho-analysts to help the victim rediscover her voice and her memory so that she can identify her attacker. A detective and a coroner are assigned to resolve the case. While one thread about solving the case is going on, the book parallely talks about the protests and revolt against the rising fame of Freud and his teachings. Anti-Freud gang threatens Freud and his followers to abandon their visit and this adds to the mystery factor of the book. Rubenfield paints many characters in a way to make them as possible suspects and this piques the curiosity. I could go on and on about the story since there are so many things going on about the book. The plot is brilliant. I liked the author’s idea of placing an imagined plot on real-life incidents and characters. The very fact that Freud is a character in the book increases the curiosity quotient of the book. The characters are pretty good. Younger, the main character, has enough layers to make him interesting. The detective, Jimmy Littlemore, adds some humor to the story and comes across as an intelligent and warm-hearted detective. The victim, the beautiful Nora Acton, is based on one of Freud’s patients. The story moves pretty fast but gets complicated somewhere in the middle of the book when there are multiple threads running, all related in some way. It becomes tedious to remember the numerous names and their motives and their connection to the murder. The climax is good and fitting for a murder mystery novel. Many loose ends are left untied which thus because of which the book doesn’t give you a sense of satisfaction after reading it. For anyone looking for a murder mystery, this is a must read. For anyone slightly interested in psychology, this book will whet your appetite slightly. If you are like me, pick up this book just because Sigmund Freud is in it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This book's summary is a bit misleading in terms of Freud's overall role in the events of the book. In any case, I still really liked the story. The main character of the book (there actually are two, but since his story is told in the first person, I'll label him as the lead,)is a young psychiatrist who is an avid follower of Sigmund Freud. He is charged with hosting Freud and several of his followers in New York before bringing him to Boston for a lecture at the university he teaches at. During This book's summary is a bit misleading in terms of Freud's overall role in the events of the book. In any case, I still really liked the story. The main character of the book (there actually are two, but since his story is told in the first person, I'll label him as the lead,)is a young psychiatrist who is an avid follower of Sigmund Freud. He is charged with hosting Freud and several of his followers in New York before bringing him to Boston for a lecture at the university he teaches at. During this time in NY, Freud is called to assist in a case involving a young society girl who was attacked in her house and is suffering amnesia. Since his stay is temporary, he has the young psychiatrist take on the case. The second storyline involves the murder of another young woman and a young detective is assigned to work with the city coroner to solve the murder. The two stories intersect as it seems the attacker of both women is the same guy. Freud's involvement in either of these cases is limited to a few pieces of advice, but a separate thread throughout the book involves an attempt to discredit Freud and his theories before his lecture. I enjoyed the setting of the book, as well as the characters. I wasn't bothered by the tone of the book, switching from 1st to 3rd person, in the least, as many times it was like 2 separate stories. This book is fast paced and has a cast of many characters that keeps the story moving along. It's part detective novel and part musings on Freudian theory and what his stay in America might have been like. My only real complaint about the book was that I was unclear of what the deal with Carl Jung was supposed to be. I felt like the story was leading up for him in some way, but died out at the end. I'm not familiar enough with the subject to know if this was the author's fictional guess as to his relationship with Freud or if the guy was actually a bit crazy. I felt that storyline could have been given a better conclusion. One other thing, maybe someone can answer this; I don't know if it was my copy of the book or what, but on page 264, when the detective and Dr. Younger are going down the elevator shaft to the caisson, part of the dialogue seems to skip and I was left wondering what I missed. Younger tells the detective about a young patient who exhibited sexual feelings for her father, to which the detective is disgusted. Then Younger reply's "Well, I-" and is interrupted by, I assume the detective saying "Katie bar the door." The doctor yells "all right" and then apologizes to the detective and then goes on to muse whether his father would have lost control like that. I completely missed where this part of the dialogue came from; and I want to say there were a couple of other parts of the books where I got confused as to the conversation thread. Nothing big to affect my rating, just thought it seemed weird.

  27. 4 out of 5

    JK

    I wanted to read this book originally because it was a work of fiction based on real events. Although some of the characters are real historical figures, the story is entirely Rubenfeld's creation. I had never read anything similar to this before, so I decided to give it a bash. I mostly enjoyed the plot. There were a great deal of things going on all at once and I appreciate calamity like this in novels, but because of this very reason I feel that a lot of these threads weren't properly tied up I wanted to read this book originally because it was a work of fiction based on real events. Although some of the characters are real historical figures, the story is entirely Rubenfeld's creation. I had never read anything similar to this before, so I decided to give it a bash. I mostly enjoyed the plot. There were a great deal of things going on all at once and I appreciate calamity like this in novels, but because of this very reason I feel that a lot of these threads weren't properly tied up at the end, and I was left feeling quite disappointed in this. There wasn't a great deal of character background provided, and where there was, it was quite sparse. We learn that a main character's father has killed himself in the past, but are given no more information on the subject at all. The book was extremely well-researched in order to be historically accurate, but it seems to me that Rubenfeld has concentrated mainly on this, rather than other aspects, such as giving his characters some more meat on their bones. His author's note at the end goes into great detail about how much research he did and so on. I doubt anyone cares. Due to Freud being an integral character, there was a great deal of psychology dialogue throughout the novel. Although it was interesting in places, the majority of the time it became incredibly tedious. I am a massive fan of Shakespeare, but the lengthy analyses of Hamlet and his Oedipus complex tired me too, and I felt the length to which Rubenfeld details this was slightly extreme. I enjoyed the mystery in the novel until it all went a bit Scooby Doo at the end, which ruined the whole thing for me. Those pesky kids! I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for a murder mystery, and particularly anyone who has an interest in psychology, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, but for anyone who is just looking for something brilliant to read, give it a miss.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alyssia Cooke

    Certainly different and somewhat interesting but not really my cup of tea. I found it exceptionally slow to begin with and had to force myself not to skip large sections of monologue style thoughts. It did pick up pace towards the end and whilst I wasn't exactly wrong in my guess of who was the guilty party, I also wasn't exactly right. Some aspects of it just didn't quite seem to work, with some of the later scenes being overly dramatic, particularly in light of the slow and plodding beginning. Certainly different and somewhat interesting but not really my cup of tea. I found it exceptionally slow to begin with and had to force myself not to skip large sections of monologue style thoughts. It did pick up pace towards the end and whilst I wasn't exactly wrong in my guess of who was the guilty party, I also wasn't exactly right. Some aspects of it just didn't quite seem to work, with some of the later scenes being overly dramatic, particularly in light of the slow and plodding beginning. Equally, some characters never quite evolve; Jung is a key one and even one of the victims, Nora, seem strangely two dimensional. Characters who are based on real life never quite seem to actually come to life and yet somehow the utterly fictional characters like the coroner and the detective jump off the page at you far more. And whilst everything comes together at the end, I was left with a slightly bitter taste on my tongue as it just didn't quite seem realistic... I do respect that the novel is well researched and where facts have been changed, they have been changed for a literary purpose that the author endevours to explain. I also accept that it is well written and the author is clearly passionate about this period in history and Freud in particular. That said though, I struggled through this. The writing style never caught me. The characters never leaped off the page at me. And aspects of the plot pushed my suspension of disbelief a little too far for comfort. It wasn't a bad read, but it certainly isn't a page turner and nor is it a book I will pick up again.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Wow! I finished this, and wrote the review below, on the day I started it. Books based on historical figures can fall into two camps: having so much speculation and fiction that one cannot always relate it to the person from the history books or their work (sorry Ms Gregory, but I think your Henry VIII is a bit like this), or making such an effort to base their conversation on things the person actually said that the dialogue becomes stilted or the person comes across as a pompous oaf, rather too Wow! I finished this, and wrote the review below, on the day I started it. Books based on historical figures can fall into two camps: having so much speculation and fiction that one cannot always relate it to the person from the history books or their work (sorry Ms Gregory, but I think your Henry VIII is a bit like this), or making such an effort to base their conversation on things the person actually said that the dialogue becomes stilted or the person comes across as a pompous oaf, rather too fond of their own opinions. Rubenfield has managed to fall into neither trap and has merged the real with the fictional (events, science, literary criticism, characters & dialogue) seamlessly enough to make this seem like a credible explanation of the historical events as well as a good murder mystery. And he has the grace to let you know exactly what liberties he has taken with the truth at the end of the book, something this person who has learnt a lot of history from novels appreciated. Only problem is that I now wish even more that I had a ticket to go and see Hamlet at the RSC this summer (and no, it's got nothing to do with David Tennant or Patrick Stewart) - reading it is just not the same.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    First off, in my defense, I took such a long time to read this book for a reason. I only read at the gym. And lately, I have become rather, bouncy, while on the elliptical machine. When I'm bouncy, I can't read because I get seasick. So at first I'm doing ok on the machine, reading away, really into the book, and then suddenly, a bout of bounciness strikes, and I'm forced to close the book and put on my ipod. But tonight I persevered and pushed through said bounciness and kicked this book's ass! First off, in my defense, I took such a long time to read this book for a reason. I only read at the gym. And lately, I have become rather, bouncy, while on the elliptical machine. When I'm bouncy, I can't read because I get seasick. So at first I'm doing ok on the machine, reading away, really into the book, and then suddenly, a bout of bounciness strikes, and I'm forced to close the book and put on my ipod. But tonight I persevered and pushed through said bounciness and kicked this book's ass! Now onto my thoughts about the book. It was great! I haven't read anything from turn of the century America in quite a while. The fact that Freud and Jung were characters in the book was a blast. It absolutely reminded me of "The Alienist" by Carr, so if you enjoyed that, be sure to read this. It was clever and witty in spots. SPOILER ALERT! My favorite exchange is: "I'm within two feet of you now, Mrs. Banwell. Shoot me." "Very well," said Clara, shooting me. UNSPOILED CONTINUATION OF REVIEW.... The only fault that I found was that the ending was rushed, and quite confusing, especially to a bouncy reader.

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