Holmes's Reviews > The Interpretation of Murder

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
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Jun 10, 2012

really liked it

As a thriller, the book is passable. The plot is quick enough, the characters intriguing enough, the twists and turns surprising enough. But as a detective novel, it is laughable. A good detective novel should make you want to solve the mystery along with the protagonist, and should also leave you ahh-ing and wow-ing when the "master detective" explains his brilliant deductions at the end. But no, this book has the opposite effect on me. The more it is explained at the end, the more incredulity I feel - I was like, "What the heck?!" I guess the author needs to hone his skills in concluding a detective story. But I will still give it four stars, simply because of the exceptionally well-written introduction, which I quote here:

"Unhappy men are all alike. Some wound they suffered long ago, some wish denied, some blow to pride, some kindling spark of love put out by scorn - or worse, indifference - cleaves to them, or they to it, and so they live each day within a shroud of yesterdays. The happy man does not look back. He doesn't look ahead. He lives in the present."

"But there's the rub. The present can never deliver one thing: meaning. The ways of happiness and meaning are not the same. To find happiness, a man need only live in the moment; he need only live for the moment. But if he wants meaning - the meaning of his dreams, his secrets, his life - a man must reinhabit his past, however dark, and live for the future, however uncertain. Thus nature dangles happiness and meaning before us all, insisting only that we choose between them."

If only the above introduction were more relevant to the story...
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