Excerpt from The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Interpretation of Murder

A Novel

by Jed Rubenfeld

The Interpretation of Murder
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 384 pages
    Jun 2007, 450 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Seeing the shadow of the man’s razor flickering on the far wall, the girl shook her head. Again she tried to cry out, but the constriction of her throat reduced her plea to a whisper.
From behind her came a low voice: “You want me to wait?”
She nodded.
“I can’t.” The victim’s wrists, crossed and suspended together over her head, were so slight, her fingers so graceful, her long legs so demure. “I can’t wait.” The girl winced as the gentlest possible stroke was administered to one of her bare thighs. A stroke, that is, of the razor, which left a vivid scarlet wake as it traced her skin. She cried out, her back curved in exactly the same arch as the great windows, her raven hair flowing down her back. A second stroke, to the other thigh, and the girl cried out again, more sharply.
“No,” the voice admonished calmly. “No screaming.”
The girl could only shake her head, uncomprehending.
“You must make a different sound.”
The girl shook her head again. She wanted to speak but couldn’t.
“Yes. You must. I know you can. I told you how. Don’t you remember?” The razor was now replaced on the bed. On the far wall, in the wavering candlelight, the girl saw the shadow of the leather crop rising up instead. “You want it. Sound as if you want it. You must make that kind of sound.” Gently but implacably, the silk tie around the girl’s throat drew tighter. “Make it.”
She tried to do as she was bid, moaning softly—a woman’s moan, a supplicating moan, which she had never made before.
“Good. Like that.”
Holding the end of the white tie in one hand and the leather crop in the other, the assailant brought the latter down upon the girl’s back. She made the sound again. Another lash, harder. The sting caused the girl to cry out, but she caught herself and made the other sound instead.
“Better.” The next blow landed not on her back but just below it. She opened her mouth, but at the same moment the tie was drawn still tighter, choking her. Her choking, in turn, made her moan seem more genuine, more broken, an effect her tormentor evidently liked. Another blow, and another and another, louder and faster, fell on all the softest parts of her body, rending her garments, leaving glowing marks on her white skin. With every lash, despite the searing pain, the girl moaned as she had been told to do, her cries coming louder and faster too.
The rain of blows stopped. She would have collapsed long before, but the rope from the ceiling, tied to her wrists, kept her upright. Her body was now scored with lacerations. Blood ran down in one or two places. For a moment all went dark for her; then the flickering light returned. A shiver passed through her.
Her eyes opened. Her lips moved. “Tell me my name,” she tried to whisper, but no one heard.
The assailant, studying the girl’s lovely neck, loosened the silk binding around it. For one instant she breathed freely, her head still flung back, the waves of black hair flowing to her waist. Then the tie around her throat went taut again.
The girl could no longer see distinctly. She felt a hand on her mouth, its fingers running lightly over her lips. Then those fingers drew the silk tie yet tighter, so that even her choking stopped. The candlelight went out for her again. This time it did not return.

Copyright © 2006 by Jed Rubenfeld

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hag-Seed
    by Margaret Atwood
    There's a scene in The Tempest that many critics have concluded is indicative of Shakespeare&#...
  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.