The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER is an inventive tour de force inspired by Sigmund Freud's 1909 visit to America, accompanied by protégé and rival Carl Jung. When a wealthy young debutante is discovered bound, whipped and strangled in a luxurious apartment overlooking the city, and another society beauty narrowly escapes the same fate, the mayor of New York calls upon Freud to use his revolutionary new ideas to help the surviving victim recover her memory of the attack, and solve the crime. But nothing about the attacks - or about the surviving victim, Nora - is quite as it seems. And there are those in very high places determined to stop the truth coming out, and Freud's startling theories taking root on American soil.
I wanted to read this book originally because it was a work of fiction based on real events. Although some of the characters are real historical figures, the story is entirely Rubenfeld's creation. I had never read anything similar to this before, so I decided to give it a bash.
I mostly enjoyed the plot. There were a great deal of things going on all at once and I appreciate calamity like this in novels, but because of this very reason I feel that a lot of these threads weren't properly tied up at the end, and I was left feeling quite disappointed in this.
There wasn't a great deal of character background provided, and where there was, it was quite sparse. We learn that a main character's father has killed himself in the past, but are given no more information on the subject at all.
The book was extremely well-researched in order to be historically accurate, but it seems to me that Rubenfeld has concentrated mainly on this, rather than other aspects, such as giving his characters some more meat on their bones. His author's note at the end goes into great detail about how much research he did and so on. I doubt anyone cares.
Due to Freud being an integral character, there was a great deal of psychology dialogue throughout the novel. Although it was interesting in places, the majority of the time it became incredibly tedious. I am a massive fan of Shakespeare, but the lengthy analyses of Hamlet and his Oedipus complex tired me too, and I felt the length to which Rubenfeld details this was slightly extreme.
I enjoyed the mystery in the novel until it all went a bit Scooby Doo at the end, which ruined the whole thing for me. Those pesky kids!
I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for a murder mystery, and particularly anyone who has an interest in psychology, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, but for anyone who is just looking for something brilliant to read, give it a miss.
25 / 66 books. 38% done!