Monday, April 2, 2007

The Interpretation of Murder

Title: The Interpretation of Murder
Author: Jed Rubenfeld
Headline Review, 2006

Sigmund Freud is on his one and only visit to America and while there, he and his American associate Stratham Younger gets caught up in a high society murder with an Oedipal complex.

One of the first things I noticed was that I was already acquainted with some of the real-life characters, from other fictional circumstances, i.e. Stanford White and Harry Thaw from Ragtime. Long time no see! Naturally, E.L. Doctorow's novel is hard to beat and this one didn't come close, but Rubenfeld should not be cast down. Spending time with these turn-of-the-century billionaires, perusing their social climbing and scandals is just as fun the second time around and has made me interested in finding some sort of biographical work of the era.

I enjoyed more than the characters based on historical figures though. New York is wonderfully rendered as well as the more fictional characters, such as detectice Littlemore. Finally, a nice, straight-laced policeman minus the drinking problem. That is hard to come by in modern crime literature. The plot has many twists and turns and leaves me almost dizzy at times, just as a good crime novel should and all loose ends are diligently taken care of at the end. Any downsides? Well, I guess a feminist reading of the novel would not come out altogether positive, but, the book had me completely hooked for two days and that's enough to make me happy (and I'm a woman!) so I say, let's blame it all on Freud like we always do.

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