BookBrowse Reviews The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

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 by Jed Rubenfeld X
The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

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

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan’s wealthiest heiresses. First novel

From the book jacket: Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind’s most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as Freud disembarks from the steamship George Washington, accompanied by Carl Jung, his rival and protégé. Across town, in an opulent apartment high above the city, a stunning young woman is found dangling from a chandelier—whipped, mutilated, and strangled. The next day, a second beauty—a rebellious heiress who scorns both high society and her less adventurous parents—barely escapes the killer. Yet Nora Acton, suffering from hysteria, can recall nothing of her attack. Asked to help her, Dr. Stratham Younger, America’s most committed Freudian analyst, calls in his idol, the Master himself, to guide him through the challenges of analyzing this high-spirited young woman whose family past has been as complicated as his own.

The Interpretation of Murder leads readers from the salons of Gramercy Park, through secret passages, to Chinatown—even far below the currents of the East River where laborers are building the Manhattan Bridge. As Freud fends off a mysterious conspiracy to destroy him, Younger is drawn into an equally thrilling adventure that takes him deep into the subterfuges of the human mind.

Comment: The Dante Club meets the sexual manipulations of Les Liaisons dangereuses in this intelligent historical novel by Jed Rubenfeld, one of the country's foremost experts on constitutional law, and a Professor of Law at Yale, who graduated from Princeton having written his thesis on Freud (apparently, he also found time to study Shakespeare at The Juilliard School).

A number of reviewers compare Rubenfeld to Caleb Carr, and specifically to The Alienist (1994) which is also set in late-19th Century New York, with some thinking that Carr's is the better novel (it's always a challenge for a new book to live up to the fond memory of a formerly read book).

The Interpretation of Murder
(a play on the title of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams) is an enjoyable first novel, albeit a little overstuffed - wealthy sadists, unscrupulous villains, inscrutable Chinamen, violent psychoanalysts, scheming entrepreneurs, political corruption and beautiful damsels in distress all vie for center stage. There's even a dollop of kinky sex (usually tastefully off stage) thrown in for good measure.

This review was originally published in September 2006, and has been updated for the June 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Names They Used for God
    All the Names They Used for God
    by Anjali Sachdeva
    Pre-publication press has already compared Anjali Sachdeva to Kelly Link and other genre-blending ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & 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.