Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld, 2006

Opening line: “There is no mystery to happiness.”

My daughter Nyrica has eclectic taste in books. She borrowed The Interpretation of Murder, 2006, by American writer Jed Rubenfeld, from the library. The minute I read the back of the book, I had to write about it even if I’m unlikely to read it soon owing to other book commitments. 


This is what her 529-page Headline Review paperback says:

“On the morning after Sigmund Freud arrives in New York on his first—and only—visit to the United States, a stunning debutante is found bound and strangled in her penthouse apartment, high above Broadway. The following night, another beautiful heiress, Nora Acton, is discovered tied to a chandelier in her parents’ home, viciously wounded and unable to speak or to recall her ordeal. Soon Freud and his American disciple, Stratham Younger, are enlisted to help Miss Acton recover her memory, and to piece together the killer’s identity. It is a riddle that will test their skills to the limit
, and lead them on a thrilling journey—into the darkest places of the city, and of the human mind.”


It’s the most intriguing book synopsis I have read this year. Freud plays detective along with his fictitious disciple, Younger, and his real-life acolyte Carl Jung. In 1909, the two renowned psychoanalysts actually visited the United States to deliver a series of lectures on psychoanalysis at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. It might have formed the basis for the novel.
 
Jed Rubenfeld, Professor of Law at Yale Law School, has written one other novel, The Death Instinct, 2010, a mystery-thriller set around the 1920 Wall Street bombing. This should be equally interesting.

He has also written books on constitutional law and co-authored The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, 2014, with his wife Amy Chua.


Author's picture sourced from www.amazon.co.uk.

16 comments:

  1. I might have his other book - I'm hoping it's shorter than this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Col, I skimmed through the pages and I found the narrative engaging.

      Delete
  2. This book does sound intriguing. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elgin, you are welcome. My daughter is well into the book and she likes it. I will probably borrow it from the circulating library later.

      Delete
  3. Sounds mysterious definitely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mystica, I'm sure it is. The gentleman on the cover could well be Sherlock Holmes.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for this Prashant - I do in fact have this on the TBR and really want to dust it down now - thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sergio, you are welcome. I look forward to reading your review of the book. I'm tempted too but, maybe, not just yet.

      Delete
  5. Freud as an investigator of crime[ interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just what I thought, Oscar. His investigation of the criminal mind should be good.

      Delete
  6. I read this one for my book group and did enjoy it. He is married to Amy Chua, famous as the Tiger Mother - did you ever come across her non-fiction parenting book? It caused quite a storm in the US and the UK....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moira, I read that Amy Chua had co-authored a book with her husband. I didn't know she was known as the Tiger Mother and nor have I come across her nonfiction parenting book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      Delete
  7. Sorry I missed this when you first posted it, Prashant! What an intriguing idea to have Freud as the sleuth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem, Margot. It is an intriguing idea, isn't it? My daughter recommends it highly. She says it is partly based on a true story. Apparently, Freud actually helped with a murder investigation.

      Delete
  8. I read this when it first came out but I don't remember it being so long. I enjoyed but wasn't in a hurry to read more. I hope you like it when you get to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy, I'd like to read it at some point in near future. My daughter says it is based on an almost true story. She liked it.

      Delete