Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Interpretation of Murder

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
Historical Mystery

A young socialite has been strangled. The following night another young woman, Nora Acton is found bound and seriously wounded. She is unable to speak and does not recall her attack at all.

Dr Sigmund Freud and his followers including, Carl Jung have come to visit New York in 1909 to speak at American Universities. Dr. Freud is asked to help Nora but because his visit is temporary he asks his host, psychoanalyst, Dr Stratham Younger, to treat her. Dr Younger finds himself becoming increasingly attracted to the lovely Nora. Younger finds Nora's thoughts to involve sexual perversions, convoluted twists and turns and even lies.

Nora finally fingers wealthy industrialist, Bramwell. Bramwell however, has the best of alibis as he was with the mayor during the night in question. Between Younger and Detective Livermore this mystery is full of ups and downs and convoluted plots.

Carl Jung is portrayed as having a serious personality disorder of his own and wants Freud's fame and renown but the amiable Dr Freud seems unaffected by all this. This part of the story is confusing and seems to go nowhere.

Also part of the story that was totally unnecessary was Younger's fascination with Hamlet and the "to be or not to be" speech. The psychoanalysis of this was supposed to be very intellectual but probably is far above any reader's head. The author makes the reader feel very stupid for not understanding.

I loved the history of New York in this time frame. The building of the Brooklyn bridge and how this was done was very interesting.

First Line: "There is no mystery to happiness."


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