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The Interpretation of Murder
 
 

The Interpretation of Murder [Kindle Edition]

Jed Rubenfeld
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

Experienced readers of crime and thrillers tend to stifle a yawn these days when they encounter a mountain of hype about a new book or author. But the fevered word of mouth that has been generated by Jed Rubenfeld’s The Interpretation of Murder is, for once, justified. This is a remarkably ambitious book, taking on a powerful suspenseful narrative, assiduously researched historical detail and a brilliant evocation of time and character. It's not surprising that the book has already been sold in 20 different countries, and is already something of an international publishing phenomenon. The secret, of course, is in plotting, and few carry this off as adroitly as the author does here. But there is some wonderful historical detail here also, and a conjuring up of real-life characters that is very intelligently done.

Despite the outward success of his visit to the USA, Sigmund Freud always spoke as if some trauma had befallen him there. He blamed the country for physical ailments that afflicted him long before his visit. Freud’s biographers have been bemused by his reaction, wondering whether some terrible unknown event might have happened in America that could explain this. The Interpretation of Murder is strikingly written literary thriller constructed around Freud’s American visit. An attractive young debutante is discovered bound, whipped and strangled in a luxurious New York apartment and another society beauty narrowly escapes the same fate. But nothing about the attacks--or the victims--is as it seems.
--Barry Forshaw

Amazon Review

Experienced readers of crime and thrillers tend to stifle a yawn these days when they encounter a mountain of hype about a new book or author. But the fevered word of mouth that has been generated by Jed Rubenfeld’s The Interpretation of Murder is, for once, justified. This is a remarkably ambitious book, taking on a powerful suspenseful narrative, assiduously researched historical detail and a brilliant evocation of time and character. It's not surprising that the book has already been sold in 20 different countries, and is already something of an international publishing phenomenon. The secret, of course, is in plotting, and few carry this off as adroitly as the author does here. But there is some wonderful historical detail here also, and a conjuring up of real-life characters that is very intelligently done.

Despite the outward success of his visit to the USA, Sigmund Freud always spoke as if some trauma had befallen him there. He blamed the country for physical ailments that afflicted him long before his visit. Freud’s biographers have been bemused by his reaction, wondering whether some terrible unknown event might have happened in America that could explain this. The Interpretation of Murder is strikingly written literary thriller constructed around Freud’s American visit. An attractive young debutante is discovered bound, whipped and strangled in a luxurious New York apartment and another society beauty narrowly escapes the same fate. But nothing about the attacks--or the victims--is as it seems.
--Barry Forshaw


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1424 KB
  • Print Length: 642 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (9 April 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TZ3ETI
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,263 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Currently the Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld has been described as `one of the most elegant legal writers of his generation`. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife and two daughters. His first novel, THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER, published in thirty-six territories, was the bestselling UK adult paperback title of 2007, and winner of the Richard and Judy Bookclub. THE DEATH INSTINCT is his second novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay. 10 Oct 2007
By Johnnybluetime VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I think 3 stars is just about right for this book.Set during Freud's visit to New York around the turn of the last century it works reasonably well,but the writing is at times very clumsy and uninvolving.Every now and then the narrative stops and the author presents us with a great slab of description of a building or a large chunk of local history.That apart,it's a reasonable plot, although not one that will tax your intelligence too much,and the characters are fairly well drawn without ever being compelling.

I have to say that Caleb Carr did this sort of thing far,far, better in The Alienist,where he manages to work both period detail and a brief history of psychology fairly seamlessly into a far better narrative.Given that both books are set in New York in similar periods and with similar protaganists I would certainly recommend Carr's book over this one any day.

Another triumph of marketing over talent I'm afraid,but reasonably diverting nevertheless,although I wouldn't really recommend it.
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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Freud, Hamlet, Murder and New York History 7 Feb 2007
Format:Paperback
OK I'll admit it I'm a fan of the Richard and Judy book club! When I heard the review of this book I knew that I would have to read it, as it deals with three of my favourite things: - Freud, Murder literature and New York (not necessarily in that order). The author is the current Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale University. At Princeton he wrote his senior thesis on Freud and at the Juilliard School of Drama studied Shakespeare. Both of these influences are clearly seen in this his first novel. The title is a play on Freud's famous work `The Interpretation of Dreams', the central character Nora, is modelled on the case study of `Dora' and many references are made to the Oedipal explanation of Hamlet.

This book is a work of fiction, but there are some historical truths. Freud did indeed make his one and only visit to New York in 1909, along with Jung. His biographers have long puzzled over the trauma that must have happened there as he refused to speak about it and in fact labelled Americans `savages'.

The story begins with Freud's arrival in New York, the very next morning a beautiful heiress is found bound and strangled in her apartment. The following night another, Nora Acton is discovered bound and wounded, but still alive. The attack has left her unable to speak or remember anything about her ordeal. Freud and a young American, Stratham Younger are enlisted to help Nora Action recover her memory in order to catch the killer.

Being a thriller, the story has numerous twists and turns and, of course, the obligatory twist at the end. However, along the way it beautifully blends fact and fiction, psychoanalytical theory and a vibrant picture of New York society and history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars uninspiring. 16 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback
Reading this book is like watching a Sunday night ITV drama, it's easy going, mildly distracting, you'll probably stick it out to the end if you start, and features some rather cliched plot points and characters.

However, once you're finished, it's instantly forgotten.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Three hundred pages too long 11 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
This book was recently selected by my local Book Club, so I more or less had to read it. The title and subject including Freud's only visit to New York in 1909 are intriguing and I read through the first two hundred pages or so fairly quickly. The book then goes haywire and loses all credibility. The plot becomes convoluted and at times almost ludicrous, the characters shallow and unbelievable. The narrative darts from one situation to another, I could hardly keep up with what was happening. It is a shame because the descriptions of the New York social scene and the construction of the Manhattan Bridge are interesting. I am afraid overall I found this a disappointing read about three hundred pages too long.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Neither one thing nor another 14 Jun 2007
Format:Paperback
A strange book, in that it has such a mishmash of themes and moods. You never quite know which way the book is heading, which is fine in many ways, but unconvincing in others. Where the book succeeds is in its careful build-up of drama and its portrayal of New York turn of the century society. Where it fails is in its ridiculously contrived conclusion, its many dead ends, and also its failure to see through the initial central drama; the role of Freud recedes as the book develops and, by the end, you wonder what he and his cohorts were doing there at all. Rubenfeld writes in a manner, consciously or not, which brings to mind silent movies in its treatment of the most traumatic events (the narrator hardly seems bothered when he is about to be drowned) and he often descends into pantomime melodrama at critical moments (" can someone please tell me exactly what's going on here?"). Worth a read, and an interesting curio, but far from living up to the the glowing reviews that festoon its covers.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a book is just a book 5 Mar 2007
By D. Dent
Format:Paperback
Although an academic by trade, in his first work of fiction - a murder mystery set around Sigmund Freud's one and only visit to America - Jed Rubenfeld demonstrates a good grasp of what turns a novel into a page turner - for the first half of the book at least. 'The Interpretation of Murder' initially rattles along very nicely, balancing narrative pace with the insertion of little nuggets of erudition about psychiatry and the history of New York. After a while though, the bickering psychiatrists (with shades of TV's Freudian Frasier Crane and his Jungian brother Niles) begin to annoy, the plot becomes increasingly full of cliched scenes and discursive thoughts on the nature of 'Hamlet', and what starts off as a very promising quirky thriller wheezes to the finish line with just one too many against the clock dashes through turn of the century New York. Not a failure by any means - just rather too long and ultimately a bit of a disappointment.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating blend of history and fiction
I love the way this book cleverly combines real historical characters and events with fictional ones. Read more
Published 22 days ago by darlah Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and enjoyable historical crime novel
It’s 29th August 1909. Sigmund Freud (accompanied by Carl Jung and Sandor Ferenczi) arrives in New York to give a series of lectures and receive an honorary doctorate from Clarke... Read more
Published 2 months ago by I Read, Therefore I Blog
2.0 out of 5 stars Builds Up for a Great Finish, But Disappoints! :(
I appreciate that Rubenfeld has degrees and training in a number of different fields (Law, psychology, and Shakespeare), and in some ways, he weaves them together in a readable... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Katherine M. Griffis (Greenberg)
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting setting, far-fetched story
The best thing about this book for me was the historical and geographical setting: New York in 1909 is really brought to life, and the portraits of Freud, Jung and their associates... Read more
Published 6 months ago by tangerina
2.0 out of 5 stars Appallingly adapted for Kindle
I did not enjoy this book however the main reason for my review is to let Amazon know just how bad the Kindle adaptation is. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Walkerdine
4.0 out of 5 stars Freud's New York City Break
1909. New York City. A woman is tortured and murdered in an exclusive New York apartment. The woman is Elizabeth Riverford. Only .....and here lies the plot of this novel. Read more
Published 10 months ago by gerardpeter
4.0 out of 5 stars twists and turns
An excellent book . A real page turner and topics to focus the mind. A brilliant who done it.
A definite"
like"
Published 10 months ago by Howard Seabrook
4.0 out of 5 stars concentration will be rewarded
This novel conveys the period so well, and offers insight into the history of psychotherapy and Freud's relationships with his disciples. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Barbara Loon
1.0 out of 5 stars The interpretation of Murder
Freud's voyage to America is spoilt by murder, conspiracy and an author who has no real ideas of his own. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Rich
4.0 out of 5 stars ALL IN THE MIND
"America is a mistake." Entertainingly Jed Rubenfeld suggests how Freud came to believe this.

1909. New York. Freud and Jung have just arrived to deliver lectures. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr. D. L. Rees
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