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Mortal Mischief: (Liebermann Papers 1) Paperback – 2 Feb 2006

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Mortal Mischief: (Liebermann Papers 1) + Vienna Blood: (Liebermann Papers 2) + Darkness Rising: (Liebermann Papers 4)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (2 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099471280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099471288
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frank Tallis is a writer and clinical psychologist. In 1999 he received a Writers' Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain and in 2000 he won the New London Writers' Award.In 2005 MORTAL MISCHIEF was shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award and for the Quais du Polar Award in France, 2007. FATAL LIES was longlisted for the International Thriller Writers' Best Paperback Award, 2010. DARKNESS RISING was runner up for the 2009 Medical Journalist's Association fiction award and shortlisted for the Elle Prix de Letrice in 2010. It was also shortlisted for an Anthony and an Edgar in 2011. DEADLY COMMUNION was shortlisted for an Edgar in 2012. The Liebermann books have been translated into fourteen languages and optioned for TV adaptation. Frank Tallis also writes horror and supernatural fiction as F.R.Tallis. THE FORBIDDEN (2012) THE SLEEP ROOM (2013) and THE VOICES (2014) are all published by Macmillan. For more information go to

Product Description


"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)

"An unusual and excellent murder mystery" (Bernard Knight, former home office pathologist)

"Frank Tallis's new max Liebermann series is off to a flying start with its location, a turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna torn between mysticism and rationalism, liberalism and anti-Semitism... a cracker." (Observer)

Book Description

'Holmes meets Freud in this enjoyable whodunnit' Guardian

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Gregory S. Buzwell TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 April 2006
Format: Paperback
Vienna 1902, a place and time curiously at odds. On the one hand science and sophistication are taking the lead with the new theory of psychoanalysis replacing the previous, almost medieval, treatments for mental ailments, and cafe society reaching a pinnacle of erudition and elegance. On the other hand the older beliefs in spiritualism and magic still linger and hold a powerful fascination for many people. Into this curious mixture of the old and the new Inspector Rheinhardt finds himself confronted with the shooting of a very beautiful medium in a room that has been locked from the inside. Enlisting the help of Dr Max Liebermann, a young disciple of Freud, Rheinhardt sets out to solve the case.
So far so good but what elevates this book way above anything like a "typical" crime novel is the attention to detail and the quality of the writing. Vienna itself becomes a character in the novel every bit as much as London, with its swirling fog and flickering gas lamps, does in the Sherlock Holmes stories. The dress, architecture, music and cafe society of the time are all beautifully described. Further, the characters from the likeable Max with his pretty but shallow fiance; Inspector Rheinhardt with his devotion to duty and his loving wife; the down-trodden Uberhorst with his almost fetishistic love of locks and keys and the disturbed English governess, Amelia Lydgate, with her burning desire to further her grandfather's work on the subject of blood and the human circulation, are all expertly drawn and given depth.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By sarah on 28 Jun. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Mortal mischief
This is an excellent book, I found it a bit like a small bowl of salty nuts, once I start it I could not stop reading until I had finished, and then when I had finished, I wanted to read more of the same kind. The story is set in Vienna at the time of Freud, and plot revolves around the "classical locked room murder" treated in an innovative and novel way. The victim, a beautiful medium, is found murdered in a way that leads her followers, and the public at large, attribute her death to the intervention of some supernatural power. The hero solves the murder with the aid of psychoanalytic techniques. The book is more than a good "who-done-it", the author, who is well known for his excellent books on psychology and psychoanalysis, presents the reader with a clear picture of the times and social settings out of which psychoanalysis evolved. There are makes many social observations on decedent Vienna and how people live there during Freud's time. One is also shown how at that time women were regarded inferior beings, silly hysterical creatures, which were prone to the strangest psychiatric illnesses. Additionally the book contains some beautifully drawn characters that are easily visualized because they are so well described. There is the hero Dr. Liebermann`s fiancé, the lovely, but shallow Claire: one of the victims customers, the vulgar fat and wealthy Cosima and, of course the victim herself, who is presented firstly and a bad character who gets her just deserves, but later as not only a murder victim, but also a victim of her times and social situation. Having enjoyed this book so much I just hope that it is the beginning of a series.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Davywavy2 VINE VOICE on 25 April 2006
Format: Paperback
"Mortal Mischief" is the first in a proposed series of 'Leibermann Papers'; the adventures of a young Psychoanalyst in turn of the century Vienna and his association with the police in criminal investigation. It's an interesting a read; the crime in question is a variation upon the old 'locked room' murder mystery (in which a noted clairvoyant is found shot dead in a locked room with no bullet to be found and teh key on the inside of the door). The setup is well-constructed and the denoument and explaination is satisfying - the crime is explained leaving me impressed in a 'I hadn't thought of that' sort of way.

What weaknesses the novel has are authorial - apparently this is a first novel, and it's interesting how the reader can watch the development of skill as the book goes on. Mortal Mischief opens with far too many overblown similes and develops into a much more restrained writing style later on. More irritating is the perfection of the lead character. The author is a Psychiatrist and large sections of the book read almost like propaganda for the profession; Liebermann is too perfect. Observant, intelligent, wise, gentle and kind, there is never a moment of human failure in his deductive powers of the sort even Holmes sometimes had ("I have been blind, Watson, blind!"), and those who oppose him and his profession are too stupid, unkind and ruthless to really engage the reader's sympathies with his character and struggles.

In all, it's a good book and a clever mystery, but weakened by the over-perfection of the lead character and a writing style which needs polish. Hopefully these wrinkles will be ironed out in the next book of the series.
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