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A Death in Vienna

A Death in Vienna

4.4 12
by Frank Tallis Dr.

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In Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century, Max Liebermann is at the forefront of psychoanalysis, practicing the controversial new science with all the skill of a master detective. Every dream, inflection, or slip of tongue in his “hysterical” patients has meaning and reveals some hidden truth. When a mysterious and beautiful medium dies under


In Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century, Max Liebermann is at the forefront of psychoanalysis, practicing the controversial new science with all the skill of a master detective. Every dream, inflection, or slip of tongue in his “hysterical” patients has meaning and reveals some hidden truth. When a mysterious and beautiful medium dies under extraordinary circumstances, Max’s good friend, Detective Oskar Rheinhardt, calls for his expert assistance. The medium’s body has been found in a room that can only be locked from the inside. Her body has been shot, but there’s no gun and absolutely no trace of a bullet. On a table lies a suicide note, claiming that there is “such a thing as forbidden knowledge." All signs point to a supernatural killer, but Liebermann the scientist is not so easily convinced.

Set in the Vienna of Freud, Klimt, and Mahler, a time of unprecedented activity in the worlds of philosophy, science, and art, A Death in Vienna is an elegantly written novel, taut with suspense and rich in historical details.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An engrossing portrait of a legendary period as well as a brain teaser of startling perplexity . . . In Tallis’s sure hands, the story evolves with grace and excitement. . . . A perfect combination of the hysterical past and the cooler–but probably more dangerous–present" --Chicago Tribune

"[An] elegant historical mystery . . . stylishly presented and intelligently resolved." -- The New York Times Book Review

"[A Death in Vienna is] a winner for its smart and flavorsome fin-de-siècle portrait of the seat of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and for introducing Max Liebermann, a young physician who is feverish with the possibilities of the new science of psychoanalysis." -- The Washington Post

"Frank Tallis knows what he’s writing about in this excellent mystery. . . . His writing and feel for the period are top class." -- The Times (London)

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Frank Tallis is a writer and clinical psychologist. He is the author of Death and the Maiden, Vienna Twilight, Vienna Secrets, Fatal Lies, and Vienna Blood, as well as five works of nonfiction and two previous novels, Killing Time and Sensing Others. He is a recipient of a Writers’ Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain and in 2000 he won the New London Writers’ Award (London Arts Board). His books have been shortlisted for both the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award and for the Edgar award. Tallis lives in London.

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4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first of the Max Liebermann's series and yet I am unable to purchase in Nook format. Very very intriguing, much like the story itself, no doubt !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank_God_I_Have_Books More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, smart read. Fans of historical fiction and intelligent crime novels will definitely find this novel to be a great read. An easy to follow story line without too many paths that could make a reader have to "check back" in the story makes this book one that a reader will want to get back to as soon as they can.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. Great background and setting with interesting historical detail.
drwho2 More than 1 year ago
Very well developed characters in a setting I am not familiar with: 1930's Vienna. An excellent mystery. While I don't agree with the author's theology, the story was interesting and I highly recommend it.
Dr_Richard_Kroner More than 1 year ago
If you liked the Third Man with its twists and intrigues featuring the great ferris wheel of Vienna, A Death in Venice is likely to please you. Set at the eve of the Hapsburg downfall, we have what appears to be an impossible murder, a clever detective, a singing psychoanalyst, a host of suspects, some romance, a possible ghost, Freud telling Jewish jokes, and lots of stops to drink coffee and taste the best of Vienna pastry. Geschmuck Gut! The ferris wheel is also featured and (oddly enough) part of the solution to the crime will be familar to anyone who is a fan of the TV show, Myth Busters, which once performed the experiment described near the end of the book that solves the crime. What is also interesting is that the solution is not discovered either by the ingenious detective nor by the singing psychoanalyst but by a potential love interest to our hero doctor. We get a strong flavor of Viennese culture. There is not only the food and drink, but much discussion of music, treatment of mental heath patients (the author is a mental health professional), and even the beginings of the sinister forces of anti-Jewish politics on the rise. The book is a great read. I think you will enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Iceman More than 1 year ago
Turn of the century Vienna ¿ at the time, the social, cultural and scientific centre of a Europe rapidly entering the modern world of the twentieth century ¿ serves as the setting for Frank Tallis¿ debut historical mystery ¿ a provocative, head-scratching locked room mystery. The very deceased and brutally murdered body of the colourful and beautiful medium Fräulein Löwenstein has been found in her apartments ¿ securely locked and bolted from the inside. The puzzle deepens and becomes even more cryptic as an autopsy reveals a gunshot wound to the heart. There is a very clear entrance wound but there is no exit wound and there is also no bullet to be found in her body.

Detective Oskar Rheinhardt, an ardent fan of the newest applications of criminology and psychology, frequently finds himself at odds with his superiors who believe in a more dogged persevering application of older tried and true procedures in the solution of crimes. Rheinhardt and his companion, Max Liebermann, a physician who is also exploring the cutting edge possibilities of his own area of expertise - the developing science of psychoanalysis ¿ believe the murderer can be found among the small group of somewhat eccentric folks that form Fräulein Löwenstein¿s regular séance circle.

To be sure, ¿A Death in Vienna¿ is a very workmanlike, well-constructed and completely entertaining locked room murder mystery but it is also so very much more. It is a wonderfully informative essay on some of the advances in modern medicine that were being developed at that time such as shock therapy, psychoanalysis, blood typing and blood transfusion.

It is an enthusiastic travelogue of what is arguably the most beautiful, charming and exciting city in all of Europe ¿ the coffee shops, the scrumptious, tantalizing pastries, the Ringstrasse, the Opera House and the Musikverein, Karlskirche and Stephansdom, the Riesenrad ferris wheel and Prater Park.

Through Tallis¿ wonderful narrative skills, one can almost imagine hearing the romantic music of the time and admiring its flamboyant composers who were such an important part of the Viennese social and cultural scene at the time ¿ Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert and, in particular, the contentious and controversial Gustav Mahler, who had held the post of the Director of the Vienna Opera since 1897.

Tallis accurately portrays the breathless, often scandalized reaction of the Viennese artistic community to Gustav Klimt¿s racy and often overtly sexual style of painting that was, in only a few years time, to form the core of the Viennese Secessionist movement now celebrated in the Belvedere Palace.

Last but not least, he breathes life into his complex characters who are so credible, so human, so complete and so well-crafted as to turn other more experience and vastly more celebrated authors completely green with envy.

For once, I completely agree with some of the marketing information on the cover. The New York Times Book Review called it an ¿elegant historical mystery ¿ stylishly presented and intelligently resolved.¿ I couldn¿t agree more. Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
At the turn of the twentieth century, Vienna is the hot spot of the new controversial science because its founder Sigmund Freud works there. A colleague of Freud, psychoanalyst Max Lieberman works with the hysterical, but also assists his friend his friend Police Detective Oskar Rheinhardt on investigations when requested. --- Oskar asks Max to help him with a difficult case that on the surface seems obvious. A beautiful medium, Fraulein Lowenstein, apparently shot herself in her heart inside a locked room with a suicide note near her body simple except there is no gun at the scene nor even more enigmatic a bullet in her corpse. Since the death occurred on a day she was to conduct a séance, Max questions her servants and clients. He quickly concludes that several people actually had motives, but the opportunity seems beyond their possibility. As Oskar and Max struggle with the investigation, one of Lowenstein¿s clients is murdered in his sleep inside a locked room. The motives and means once again are obvious, but how someone made the opportunity happen remains beyond the understanding of the two sleuths. --- This is a terrific historical police procedural in which the intellectual atmosphere of Vienna circa 2000 is alive and in some ways the main character of the delightful tale though Max and Oskar are fully developed authentic protagonists. The lead pair struggles with uncovering the how to a murder mystery, but in doing so also add to the ambiance that controls the entire wonderful plot. Frank Tallis provides a powerful early twentieth century whodunit that will have readers waltzing with the investigators as they dance around Vienna seeking to identify the culprit before another homicide takes place. --- Harriet Klausner