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The Interpretation of Murder
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About the Author

Currently a professor of law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld is one of this country's foremost experts on constitutional law. He wrote his Princeton undergraduate thesis on Sigmund Freud and studied Shakespeare at Julliard. He lives in Connecticut.

Reviews

This is a gloriously intelligent exploration of what might have happened to Sigmund Freud during his only visit to America. The tortured body of a young society woman is found in a posh New York apartment in the summer of 1909. A day later, beautiful Nora Acton is found with similar marks, only she has managed to survive the brutal attack. Freud, en route with Carl Jung to a speaking engagement in Boston, finds himself drawn into the investigation. He asks an American colleague to psychoanalyze Nora, who has repressed all memory of the attack. Meanwhile, a determined if inexperienced police detective follows another trail. Can Freud and his fellow psychoanalysts find the killer before he strikes again? Filled with period detail, this historical thriller challenges the reader to reason out the mystery. Rubenfeld (law, Yale Univ.; Revolution by Judiciary: The Structure of American Constitutional Law) shows great talent for psychological suspense and uses shifting viewpoints to build tension. Fans of Caleb Carr will adore this work. Given the publicity planned, it is highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/06.] Laurel Bliss, Princeton Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

The search for a serial killer during Sigmund Freud's 1909 visit to New York City, his one trip to the U.S., propels the plot of Yale law professor Rubenfeld's ambitious debut. Freud's arrival coincides with the sadistic murder of a beautiful young woman in an upscale hotel. A similar attack on another woman results in the victim's hysterical paralysis. The efforts of Dr. Stratham Younger, a protege of Freud's, to recover the survivor's memories of her assailant lead Younger into a morass of politics, big money and kinky sexual escapades. Freud plays a background role, but the father of psychoanalysis does get to expound his ideas, demonstrate his diagnostic acumen and don an apparent martyr's robe. Readers will learn much about Freud's relationship with his then-disciple Carl Jung, the building of the Manhattan Bridge, the early opponents to Freud's theories and the central problem posed by Hamlet's "to be or not to be" soliloquy. While not as well crafted as Caleb Carr's similarly themed The Alienist, this well-researched and thought-provoking novel is sure to be a crowd pleaser. $500,000 marketing campaign; 15-city author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"This baroque tale of egos and ids run rampant will be a welcome treat to fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist. . . . Find a couch and prepare for a page-turning session." --Daily News (New York)"A compelling, expertly crafted murder mystery . . . Carefully researched detail is just one reason The Interpretation of Murder is shaping up to be this year's Historian." --Entertainment Weekly (Must Reads selection)"Using a dizzying number of points of view and keeping the action taut, Rubenfeld leavens the intellectual heft with sly wit." --People"Proves once again that crime and literature need not be separate beasts." --Rocky Mountain News (grade: A)"[A] brilliant conceit . . . Rubenfeld takes the reader on a beguiling tour of the opium dens of Chinatown, the haunts of the rich at Gramercy Park, and even the subterranean construction site of the Manhattan Bridge under the East River. . . . Dazzling." --The Independent (U.K.)"Well researched . . . Jed Rubenfeld's entertaining psychological thriller is full of enjoyable twists and turns." --BookPage"Rubenfeld has both smarts and an admirably depraved imagination." --Entertainment Weekly"Rubenfeld's rendering of early-twentieth-century Manhattan is engrossing." --The Village Voice"Rubenfeld knows how to keep readers turning pages. He steeps the story in history without waterlogging it, moving things along with well-crafted action scenes." --The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"A finely written and researched historical novel." --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette"Rubenfeld kicks things into high gear right from the start. . . . The depth of research Rubenfeld engaged in is evident on nearly every page. And in great historical mystery novels, a lesson in civics and criminology is always the by-product, just as it is here. . . . A compelling mystery." --Pages"Rubenfeld's provocative mystery debut . . . [he] renders rich, complex characters, vivid period detail, and prose riddled with heady references to Hamlet. He deftly blends fiction and fact, and his brisk, sinuous plot makes room for playful interpretations of the world according to Freud." --Booklist (starred review)"A gloriously intelligent exploration of what might have happened to Sigmund Freud during his only visit to America. . . . Filled with period detail, this historical thriller challenges the reader to reason out the mystery. Rubenfeld shows great talent for psychological suspense. . . . Fans of Caleb Carr will adore this work." --Library Journal (starred review)"Ambitious . . . Readers will learn much about Freud's relationship with his then-disciple Carl Jung, the building of the Manhattan Bridge, the early opponents of Freud's theories, and the central problem posed by Hamlet's 'to be or not to be' soliloquy. . . . This well-researched and thought-provoking novel is sure to be a crowd pleaser." --Publishers Weekly"Meaty and provocative." --Kirkus Reviews"The Interpretation of Murder is a bold page-turner that propels us from the start with a driving plot and intriguing characters, but also with ideas--a whole history of ideas. It's a richly motivated thriller that will make you reconsider the mysteries of Freud and Hamlet. Here is a novel that you'll only want to put down in order to think more about the book." --Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club

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