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Vienna Blood (Max Liebermann Series #2)

Vienna Blood (Max Liebermann Series #2)

3.8 8
by Frank Tallis

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The second in the Dr. Max Liebermann series, literature’s first psychoanalytic detective.

In the grip of a Siberian winter in 1902, a serial killer in Vienna embarks upon a bizarre campaign of murder. Vicious mutilation, a penchant for arcane symbols, and a seemingly random choice of victim are his most distinctive peculiarities. Detective Inspector Oskar


The second in the Dr. Max Liebermann series, literature’s first psychoanalytic detective.

In the grip of a Siberian winter in 1902, a serial killer in Vienna embarks upon a bizarre campaign of murder. Vicious mutilation, a penchant for arcane symbols, and a seemingly random choice of victim are his most distinctive peculiarities. Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt summons a young disciple of Freud - his friend Dr. Max Liebermann — to assist him with the case. The investigation draws them into the sphere of Vienna’s secret societies — a murky underworld of German literary scholars, race theorists, and scientists inspired by the new evolutionary theories coming out of England. At first, the killer’s mind seems impenetrable — his behaviour and cryptic clues impervious to psychoanalytic interpretation; however, gradually, it becomes apparent that an extraordinary and shocking rationale underlies his actions. . . .

Against this backdrop of mystery and terror, Liebermann struggles with his own demons. The treatment of a patient suffering from paranoia erotica (a delusion of love) and his own fascination with the enigmatic Englishwoman Amelia Lydgate raises doubts concerning the propriety of his imminent marriage. To resolve the dilemma, he must entertain the unthinkable — risking opprobrium and accusations of cowardice.

Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
London clinical psychologist Frank Tallis's Vienna Blood is one of the finest literary thrillers I've ever read. It's a dazzling tour de force, set in Vienna in 1902, that combines the search for a serial killer with a vibrant portrait of fin-de-siecle Viennese social and cultural life and a disturbing look at the rise of the twisted German nationalism that would soon emerge as Nazism. The novel is a bit long, but that's because Tallis's exceptional descriptive powers lead to elegant word-portraits of everything from architecture to an autopsy to a duel to the mouth-watering Viennese pastries that the characters frequently devour. Impatient readers need not apply, but for everyone else this is the perfect book to curl up with by the fire on a winter evening.
—The Washington Post
Marilyn Stasio
…[a] fine sequel to A Death in Vienna…one cabal with a sinister agenda of Germanic supremacy has given purpose to a serial killer whose terrible handiwork leads Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt to consult with his friend, the psychologist Max Liebermann, on a clinical profile of the murderer. The professional rapport and easy friendship of this duo lend a bit of quiet charm to a series that, rather like a Viennese pastry, is stuffed almost to bursting with showy delights.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

British clinical psychologist Tallis follows his superior debut, A Death in Vienna(2007), with this gripping sequel. Viennese Det. Insp. Oskar Rheinhardt, already faced with finding the person who butchered the emperor's favorite anaconda, comes under even more pressure from his superiors when several murders are committed in quick succession. The inspector enlists the assistance of insightful Freud disciple Max Liebermann, who quickly deduces that the killer is choosing his victims to correspond with the plot of Mozart's The Magic Flute. The book's strength lies in the relationship and interplay between the two detectives, whose friendship, which includes a shared love of music, may remind some of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin. The clever plotting and quality writing elevate this above most other historicals, even if the solution to the crimes comes as no great surprise. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
From the Publisher
Praise for Mortal Mischief:
“An intriguing, impressive achievement — puts the psychological back into crime and written by a real expert.”
–Oliver James

“Smart detection and a mouthwatering view of Viennese cafe society . . . good prospects for the Liebermann series, of which this is book number one.”
–Literary Review

Product Details

Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
Publication date:
Max Liebermann Series , #2
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.46(h) x 1.38(d)

Read an Excerpt

Vienna Blood

A Novel
By Frank Tallis

Random House Trade Paperbacks

Copyright © 2008 Frank Tallis
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780812977769

The Italian lunged forward. He was a small, lean man, but very muscular. Any disadvantage he suffered because of his lack of height was amply compensated for by his sharp eye and astonishing speed.
Liebermann successfully deflected the foil’s thrust but lost his balance. He was unable to produce a counterattack and his opponent advanced yet again. The tip of the Italian’s foil came perilously close to the protective quilting over Liebermann’s heart. Recovering his footing, Liebermann chose to make a passŽ–darting behind the Italian and taking a few steps backward. A trickle of sweat slid down his hot cheek. The Italian shrugged and walked away, flexing his foil in a gesture of indifference. After a few paces he swung around and adopted the preparatory stance, his chin tilted upward in an attitude of arrogance. Liebermann edged forward.
The Italian seemed to relax, his foil wilting a little in an apparently weaker grip. Liebermann noticed the subtle change and struck. A violent brassy clang was followed by the shriek of scraping metal: the Italian’s foil yielded, offering no resistance. Liebermann congratulated himself, believing that he had taken his opponent by surprise–but the concession was merelytactical. The Italian’s blade deftly flicked around Liebermann’s, displacing it with a powerful grazing action, and, once again, the tip of his opponent’s foil effortlessly penetrated Liebermann’s defenses. Liebermann retreated, executing a series of deflective maneuvers that barely contained the Italian’s renewed fierce attack.
{ 3 }
Frank Tallis
They circled each other, occasionally touching blades in glancing contact.
“You should have anticipated my froissement, Herr Doctor,” said the Italian gruffly. He tapped his temple and added: “Think, Herr Doctor! If you do not think, all is lost.”
Liebermann examined the blank oval of Signore Barbasetti’s mask, eager to observe some mark of humanity–a conciliatory expression or the glimmer of a smile, perhaps. The mesh, however, was impenetrable.
Their foils clashed again–blades flashing in a shaft of early-morning sunlight. A swarm of lazy dust motes was sucked into a miniature cyclone of displaced air.
Barbasetti produced a feint, switching from one line of attack to another, forcing Liebermann to draw back. However, the young doctor retained his composure and made a move that he intended should fail, thus provoking a predictable and powerful thrust from Barbasetti. Liebermann dodged and struck the forte of the Italian’s foil as he stumbled past–Barbasetti almost lost his grip.
“Bravo, Herr Doctor,” Barbasetti said, and laughed. “An excellent falso!”
“Thank you, signor.”
Barbasetti came to a halt and lifted his blade, scrutinizing it closely. “Please excuse me, Herr Doctor.”
Barbasetti walked to the other side of the drill hall and pressed the hilt of his foil against the surface of a battered wooden table. He then hung a small iron weight from the tip and watched the metal blade bend. Its gentle curvature elicited an equivocal grunt from the watchful Italian.
“Is everything all right, signor?” Liebermann asked.
“Yes, I think so,” Barbasetti replied. The Italian raised himself up, marched back, and warned his student: “En garde.”
{ 4 }
Vienna Blood
Immediately they were engaged, Liebermann’s foil sliding along his opponent’s blade until the hand guards crashed together. The fencing master pushed and Liebermann was thrown back: he landed awkwardly, but was nevertheless able to execute an impressive flying parry.
Barbasetti disengaged. “Much better.”
Liebermann noticed that the button at the end of his foil was trembling–he was feeling tired. After his lesson, he would have coffee and croissants in the little coffeehouse close to the Anatomical Institute. He would need something in his stomach to keep him going. . . .
“En garde!”Barbasetti barked again. The Italian had noticed that his student’s mind had begun to wander. Liebermann was astonished by the fencing master’s insight.
Again their blades connected, and the plangent clatter of contending steel filled the hall. Liebermann thought that Signore Barbasetti was tiring too. His pace had slackened slightly and his movements were less balletic. The Italian deflected Liebermann’s lunge, but failed to resume his guard. Observing the exposed chest protector, Liebermann recognized a rare opportunity. Excited by the prospect of victory, he raised his foil, ready to strike.
But the blow was never delivered.
His body froze, paralyzed by the inexplicable pressure that he felt against his heart. Dropping his gaze, he contemplated the tip of Signore Barbasetti’s foil, which had found its home precisely above the intercostal space separating ribs five and six.
Barbasetti pushed, and the cold steel curved upward.
“I don’t understand,” said Liebermann.
“You were not concentrating, Herr Doctor,” said the Italian. “Such an error would certainly lose you a competition . . . and of course, in some circumstances, your life.”
{ 5}
Frank Tallis
Barbasetti lowered his foil and then raised it in salute.
Liebermann returned the gesture politely. In spite of the fencing master’s dramatic declaration, the young doctor was ashamed to find that he was still thinking of the little coffeehouse near the Anatomical Institute: crisp flakes of buttery pastry, a pot of plum jam, and a cup of very strong black coffee.
{ 6}


Excerpted from Vienna Blood by Frank Tallis Copyright © 2008 by Frank Tallis. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Frank Tallis is a writer and practicing clinical psychologist. He has published seven non-fiction works (including Changing Minds: The History of Psychotherapy as an Answer to Human Suffering; and Hidden Minds: A History of the Unconscious.) His new novel, Lovesick, is also published by Century.

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Vienna Blood (Max Liebermann Series #2) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the winter of 1902, Vienna Police Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt is working on the high profile case of who slaughtered the royal anaconda at the Tiergarten Zoo when his superiors yank him off that investigation. Instead he is assigned to lead the inquiry into who is killing prostitutes as several victims have suddenly been found in the frozen city streets. The killer leaves brazen cross-like marks on his victims that lead Oskar to believe one clever diabolical person is responsible. --- He knows he needs special help on this strange case witch as far as he knows has no local precedent although there is some experience in London of an apparent mentally sick yet brilliant predator. He asks Freudian adherent Dr. Max Liebermann, who collaborated with him on A DEATH IN VIENNA, to provide him insight into the culprit¿s mind so that they can put together a pattern and find the killer. Max realizes that the serial homicides ties into Mozart¿s classic The Magic Flute, but why and who remains unknown as more hookers are killed. --- Readers will believe they are visiting Freud¿s Vienna at an exciting time in the city even if the Empire is tottering on the brink of extinction as Frank Tallis through the actions of his serial killer and the collaborative team bring the turn of the century to life. Although the police procedural is fun to follow with its link to Mozart even if it is somewhat obvious to the reader, this prime plot actually enhances the vivid look at the still thriving capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1902 as historical fans will fully treasure the tour though paved with blood. --- Harriet Klausner
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