“This baroque tale of egos and ids run rampant will be a welcome treat to fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist. . . . Find a couch and prepare for a page-turning session.” Daily News (New York)
“A compelling, expertly crafted murder mystery . . . Carefully researched detail is just one reason The Interpretation of Murder is shaping up to be this year's Historian.” Entertainment Weekly (Must Reads selection)
“Using a dizzying number of points of view and keeping the action taut, Rubenfeld leavens the intellectual heft with sly wit.” People
“Proves once again that crime and literature need not be separate beasts.” Rocky Mountain News (grade: A)
“[A] brilliant conceit . . . Rubenfeld takes the reader on a beguiling tour of the opium dens of Chinatown, the haunts of the rich at Gramercy Park, and even the subterranean construction site of the Manhattan Bridge under the East River. . . . Dazzling.” The Independent (U.K.)
“Well researched . . . Jed Rubenfeld's entertaining psychological thriller is full of enjoyable twists and turns.” BookPage
“Rubenfeld has both smarts and an admirably depraved imagination.” Entertainment Weekly
“Rubenfeld's rendering of early-twentieth-century Manhattan is engrossing.” The Village Voice
“Rubenfeld knows how to keep readers turning pages. He steeps the story in history without waterlogging it, moving things along with well-crafted action scenes.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A finely written and researched historical novel.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Rubenfeld kicks things into high gear right from the start. . . . The depth of research Rubenfeld engaged in is evident on nearly every page. And in great historical mystery novels, a lesson in civics and criminology is always the by-product, just as it is here. . . . A compelling mystery.” Pages
“Rubenfeld's provocative mystery debut . . . [he] renders rich, complex characters, vivid period detail, and prose riddled with heady references to Hamlet. He deftly blends fiction and fact, and his brisk, sinuous plot makes room for playful interpretations of the world according to Freud.” Booklist (starred review)
“A gloriously intelligent exploration of what might have happened to Sigmund Freud during his only visit to America. . . . Filled with period detail, this historical thriller challenges the reader to reason out the mystery. Rubenfeld shows great talent for psychological suspense. . . . Fans of Caleb Carr will adore this work.” Library Journal (starred review)
“Ambitious . . . Readers will learn much about Freud's relationship with his then-disciple Carl Jung, the building of the Manhattan Bridge, the early opponents of Freud's theories, and the central problem posed by Hamlet's 'to be or not to be' soliloquy. . . . This well-researched and thought-provoking novel is sure to be a crowd pleaser.” Publishers Weekly
“Meaty and provocative.” Kirkus Reviews
“The Interpretation of Murder is a bold page-turner that propels us from the start with a driving plot and intriguing characters, but also with ideasa whole history of ideas. It's a richly motivated thriller that will make you reconsider the mysteries of Freud and Hamlet. Here is a novel that you'll only want to put down in order to think more about the book.” Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club
The Barnes & Noble Review
Yale Law School professor Jed Rubenfeld's debut novel is nothing short of a mystery masterwork; revolving around Sigmund Freud's only visit to America, in 1909, the book entangles the Father of Psychoanalysis in a criminal investigation involving a murderous sadist who preys on affluent young women in New York City.
Invited to the States to deliver a series of potentially controversial lectures on psychoanalysis (and to receive an honorary doctoral degree from Clark University), Freud -- accompanied by protégés Sándor Ferenczi and Carl Jung -- is welcomed by budding young American psychoanalyst Dr. Stratham Younger. Upon learning of a horrific crime recently committed on a young woman whose memories of the attack have been repressed, Freud enlists Younger to act as the victim's analyst in hopes of uncovering the attacker's identity. Meanwhile, as more bodies are found, greenhorn detective Jimmy Littlemore must deal with an ill-tempered coroner, a megalomaniacal mayor, and a corrupt real estate magnate in his efforts to unmask the killer. Throw in Hamlet, a little sadomasochism, and a healthy dose of the Oedipal complex, and you've got yourself an addictively readable historical thriller.
Comparable to recent mysteries like An Unpardonable Crime by Andrew Taylor and Matthew Pearl's Dante Club (featuring, respectively, Edgar Allan Poe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) -- this historical whodunit is as intricate as Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and as thrilling as Caleb Carr's atmospheric classic The Alienist. If this singularly sensational debut is any indication, Jed Rubenfeld will be a name that mystery fans will not soon forget. Highly recommended. Paul Goat Allen
Turning a psychological thriller with a cast that includes Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and several important American politicians and millionaires from a rich textual experience to a gripping and exciting audio event requires a reader with many skills. Heyborne knows how to use just his voice to bring a variety of nationalities and social classes to life. He can catch the inherent smartness of a working-class detective in a phrase, and can as quickly mark a pioneering medical examiner as a dangerous crank. But where he really succeeds is in the three very different psychoanalysts who move Rubenfeld's story of murder and psychosis down its distinctive road. Heyborne's Freud is an all-too-human man of obvious charm and originality; Freud's disciple Jung is cold, calculating and obviously envious; and fictional narrator Dr. Stratham Younger is a bright and admiring early Freudian who is also somewhat skeptical about some of the Viennese master's theories. This goes a long way in easing listeners through some of Rubenfeld's longer monologues about life and architecture in New York in 1909-passages that readers had the option of skimming without missing any vital nuances. Simultaneous release with the Henry Holt hardcover (Reviews, July 10). (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This is a gloriously intelligent exploration of what might have happened to Sigmund Freud during his only visit to America. The tortured body of a young society woman is found in a posh New York apartment in the summer of 1909. A day later, beautiful Nora Acton is found with similar marks, only she has managed to survive the brutal attack. Freud, en route with Carl Jung to a speaking engagement in Boston, finds himself drawn into the investigation. He asks an American colleague to psychoanalyze Nora, who has repressed all memory of the attack. Meanwhile, a determined if inexperienced police detective follows another trail. Can Freud and his fellow psychoanalysts find the killer before he strikes again? Filled with period detail, this historical thriller challenges the reader to reason out the mystery. Rubenfeld (law, Yale Univ.; Revolution by Judiciary: The Structure of American Constitutional Law) shows great talent for psychological suspense and uses shifting viewpoints to build tension. Fans of Caleb Carr will adore this work. Given the publicity planned, it is highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/06.] Laurel Bliss, Princeton Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Sigmund Freud and friends play Sherlock Holmes in an Alienist-style historical murder mystery. Human monsters stalk the teeming streets of early-20th-century New York City in Rubenfeld's ambitious debut. A sadist is assaulting rich society girls with whips and blades. Is the villain unscrupulous, wealthy entrepreneur George Banwell, who is mean to his horses and denies his gorgeous wife sexual intercourse because pregnancy would ruin her figure? Is it mysterious William Leon of Chinatown, in whose room one of the corpses is found? Or could Harry Thaw, notorious murderer of Stanford White, be slipping out from Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane? Freud, making his only visit to America, to lecture at Clark University, is in New York with a group of colleagues. Among them is one who seems crazy enough to be another murder suspect: Carl Jung. Carl has violent mood swings, carries a pocket revolver, lies about his ancestors and believes that he can hear supernatural voices. Freud's cohorts also include Dr. Stratham Younger, an American psychoanalyst given the job of analyzing lovely 17-year-old Nora Acton, who has survived an attack by the sex maniac but can't remember anything about it. Into this already-teeming stew, the author tosses a group of powerful grandees scheming to ruin Freud's visit and reputation, political corruption, the plight of the working poor, the coming psychological revolution, Oedipus, Hamlet and much more. Rubenfeld tends to slice and splice his chapters in cinematic fashion; Younger's first-person narration repeatedly jars with the remainder of the book's third-person perspective, often spoiling the buildup of tension. Other weaknessesinclude the author's failure to establish exactly who the central character is. Eventually, relying heavily on bait-and-switch, the story reaches its conclusion, giving Freud the last, prophetic word. Meaty and provocative, though also grandiose and calculated.