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The Interpretation of Murder

(Freud #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  13,825 ratings  ·  1,338 reviews
In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan’s wealthiest heiresses

Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind’s most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as F
Paperback, 533 pages
Published 2007 by Headline Review (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,825 ratings  ·  1,338 reviews

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Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "Lions and Tigers and Freud, Oh My!!
Twists and turns along with Carl Jung -why oh why!!
A vixen, an ingénue, some psychiatrists and a sexy detective too!!
Complex, delicious, fun and macabre- you won't go wrong if you give this a try" STARS !!

6th Favorite Read of 2015

This is just what the doctor ordered as a salve to my recent brain numbing with young adult books.

I have not enjoyed a historic literary thriller like this in many years. The last book that I enjoyed this much in this genre was
i'm pretty neutral about this book. it was a fine sortof historical mystery with all the requisite elements like red herrings and dubious intentions and misread signals and girls tied up and whipped, and i'm torn, because it is a perennial table book, but i think i might have to regulate its inclusion from now on, because in my opinion, it is all right but no great shakes. maybe people who are really into freud would like it more than i. this is me being too early for class and writing ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, thriller, mystery
The Interpretation of Murder is an intelligent and considered crime thriller, probably trying to create the first instance of 'serial killer profiling' before the science was developed. The murder of a young woman is followed by a similar attempt using the same modus operandi, however, this lady (Miss Acton) survives but it leaves her with amnesia. Detective Littlemore needs to find out what she knows before the killer strikes again or comes back to finish the job. Littlemore works
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I did not just like this book, I LOVED it. And on so many levels. I found it clever, informative, well written and even humorous at times. The characters were interesting and I was kept guessing even when I pretty much decided I knew what was going on. This was really a page turner, especially when they were down in the caisson. I could so visualize that. This is my new "You gotta read this book" recommendation. The Freud, Jung and Shakespeare inclusions was an added bonus. Loved the early 1900 ...more
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Coy by: Kenneth
When I sit down to what I hope will be a great meal, I look forward to the side dishes, but it's the main course that is central. Don't get me wrong, I love potatoes, but give me the steak! Interpretation of Murder is a side dish and not a potato side dish, more like peas or carrots or something.

Reading the author's notes at the end of the book gave me a better appreciation of the novel. I respect that it was well-researched, but to borrow from the same analogy, I like a little history with my s
Mar 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mysteries
Sigmund Freud, along with his protege Carl Jung, arrives in New York for a series of lectures at Clark University in Massachusetts. A young woman is murdered, apparently by a serial killer. Another young woman, Nora Acton, is suffering from amnesia after another attack by the same criminal. Dr. Stratham Younger, a high society Freud acolyte, undertakes a psychoanalysis of Nora, in the hopes of unraveling the mystery.

I wanted to like The Interpretation of Murder. I really did. It had an intrigui
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars despite the shape changing mystery and the evolutionary war of psychology.

The author has a lot going on in the book. We have New York of 1909 - an exquisite setting with blue flame lights, caissons, Madams and balls. We have the who's who of Psychology debating the innermost working theories on Psychoanalysis - Freud and Jung being the forerunners.

We have a murder mystery and an attempted murder - grounded in psychoanalysis and detective work keeps changing colors. On top of this we a
Meghan Cooper
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
This book was difficult and slow to read. I liked the whole idea of the story, but I did't feel like I connected with any of the characters in the story. When the author started a new chapter and brought in a different character with it, I kept not even knowing who they were talking about. I had to go back and refresh my memory of who was who. To be honest the characters descriptions were really bad. The author did his best to add tension to the whole book but half the time this tension just wou ...more
Mohammed Sheikh
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american, thriller
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The story is set on 1909 Manhattan, New York when Sigmund Freud and his companions was visiting USA to attend a conference at the Clark University. When a dèbutante is found dead on her own penthouse and the very next day another young beautiful heiress Nora Acton is found strangled to a chandelier and viciously wounded and top of this she can't talk and enable to recall the recent events that happened to her. Dr. Stratham Younger who will now
Rowland Pasaribu
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it

Her entire body glistened in the unbearable August heat. Her long legs were bare, as were her arms. Her elegant shoulders were nearly bare as well. The girl’s consciousness was fading. She tried to speak. There was a question she had to ask. It was there; it was gone. Then she had it again. ‘My name,’ she whispered. ‘What is my name?’

"... So, is Nora still a victim when she is empowered by a sympathetic listener?"

Feel like there's class conflict in the book: psychoanalysis versus
Natalie Vellacott
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
An "ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller"? Ingenious, try confusing. Suspenseful, more like wading through sludge and wondering when you will reach the end. Thriller, any drama was short lived and shrouded in Freudianisms.

I've also seen "spectacular, fiendishly clever, heart in the mouth read, impossible to put down, intriguing mystery, accomplished thriller and dazzling novel." If a book really was this awesomely, fantastically, amazing, I'd expect the average reader to enjoy it whether
Apr 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Such a disappointment. I really thought I'd like this because initially it looked like it might be a blend of history, psychology, literature, & criminal investigation. Those things did provide some satisfaction, but at times it read as if the author had simply copy/pasted his college papers on Freud or Hamlet into the text, resulting in a dry, disjointed lack of continuity.
Mostly what ruined this story was the unnecessarily detailed descriptions of the sadistic sexual assaults, described in pro
Oct 16, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Is it possible to be totally gripped and bored rigid at the same time ? That’s how I was for most of this book, the writing style I found stilted at first but the murder plot kept me going. Ultimately this was a bit of a let down as the plot was so convoluted, all the loose ends were tied up ‘Columbo’ style at the end. The best character was detective Littlemore, he was the only one I had any feeling for, in fact Littlemore and Younger as a detective duo were great. This book is to Psychoanalysi ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I devoured this book in the sense that it was easy to read and lots of plot twists to keep you interested. the factual parts added a touch of realism to a fictional story, even if some weren't accurate for the time ( a point the author acknowledges).
My rating is to reflect that this genre is not my favourite and this book would not change my opinion.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Very disappointing...last time i listen to blimin' Richard and Judy!!! ...more
Arun Divakar
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Quite a long period of time had passed since I read a whodunit. It was more of an impulse that made me pick up this book while walking the shelves at the library. I remember reading the blurb on the back page and thinking back to Caleb Carr's Alienist and then deciding on giving this one a try.

It is an extremely light and breezy read. I was juggling three books at the same time and could only get to this by late Friday and even then could finish it by a Sunday evening. Contrary to my own prej
A very interesting book mixing up fact and fiction . I was much interested in psychology and psychiatry in my younger days and reading this took me back by a couple of decades. Came to meet Freud and Jung , and was thoroughly immersed in the mystery involving tortured women and villaneous men.
Would surely be pursuing the second in the series , some time soon.
Stephen McQuiggan
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Freud arrives in America for a series of lectures just as a beautiful heiress is found murdered; the very next night another heiress is found bound and gagged and suffering from amnesia. It seems a perfect opportunity to try out some of the new psycho-analytic techniques, and Freud's disciple, Younger, is only too willing to step forward.
When is a murder mystery not a murder mystery? When it is an action novel that has been dunked in a large vat of philosophical musing. The last one hundred page
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read for years, a real page turner that I couldn't put down! ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Unhappiness is caused when we cannot let go of our memories."

A book based on Sigmund Freud, founder of pyschoanalysis? Who could expect me to resist buying and then reading it?

It lived up to my expectations. The characters were flawed but interesting and, later, loveable; the writing style was perfect for such a book; the solution to the mystery itself was one I never could have figured out on my own. Younger's analysis of Hamlet, too, was one I will probably keep in my mind for a while to come
Michelle Bacon
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Good mystery with many twists and turns as well as a little Shakespeare and some psychoanalysis going on with Freud and Jung in the characterization. There were a few times that I had to check to make sure that the time frame of this story was correct. There were times that it felt like it was a bit more modern than than the story was meant to be. I did enjoy it tho.
There were quite a few things I liked about this book. It brings 1909 New York to vivid life, with meticulously presented and accurate details. It is also nicely written, sounding authentic to the period in all respects. And I really liked a number of characters, including Junger and Littlemore. Last but not least, I truly enjoyed the literary analyses and Freudian theorizing sprinkled throughout. But I hated the implausible, contrived and hastily resolved plot. And the book is remarkably sexist ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
This falls in the category for me of books read for entertainment. The fact that it contained as characters both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung drew me in, having studied them in school and having been drawn to Jung's work. The Jung portayed here was not the Jung I recall learning about! Not a likeable person. The edition I read contained notes by the author that explained his research and the license he took with historical facts and timelines, which is really a bonus IMHU. Detective Littlemore wa ...more
Jess at
An absolutely phenomenal read.
Indrani Sen
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa
A story set at the end of the first decade of the twentieth-century New York. The police are corrupt and psychoanalysis is just emerging. The plotline is good. The introduction to Freud and a but Jung was very interesting.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“No man can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips.”
This was a phenomenal read for me! one of the best thrillers I have read so far considering I don't read that many.
The book revolves around the famous theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and other famous Psychologists of the era.
One of his famous theory is based on Hamlet by Shakespeare. It was a quite a delight to know more about psychology and gain knowledge about the various psychologists.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This novel is about a murder mystery of Elizabeth Riverford, a young socialite in the impressive Balmoral Hotel, Manhattan and the reputedly accurate recounting of a visit made by Dr Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung to New York in 1909 to speak at American Universities in an age when psychoanalysis is in it's infancy.

Although not directly involved in the murder, Dr Freud offers advice to the budding psychoanalyst, Dr Stratham Younger, as to how to treat one of the murderer's surviving victims. The yo
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Jed Rubenfield’s book borrows quite a few things from the famous non-fiction book The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud. To start with, the title is intentionally made to look like a spoof on the original book. The author and psychologist, Sigmund Freud is one of the characters in Rubenfield’s book. Several real characters like Carl Jung, Abraham Brill and George McClellan, Mayor of New York City appear in this fictional book.

To begin with, I liked the idea of creating a fictional story
Apr 28, 2010 rated it liked it
This book's summary is a bit misleading in terms of Freud's overall role in the events of the book. In any case, I still really liked the story.

The main character of the book (there actually are two, but since his story is told in the first person, I'll label him as the lead,)is a young psychiatrist who is an avid follower of Sigmund Freud. He is charged with hosting Freud and several of his followers in New York before bringing him to Boston for a lecture at the university he teaches at.

Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
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
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Jed Rubenfeld a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University and magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School is the author of the hystorical and psychoanalytical novel Intepretation of Murder.

His experience in both Shakespearean Plays and his thesis on Sigmond Frued helped him to make an anlytical yet fictional work; Intepretation of Murder.

A master in the field of Law, he has proved himsel

Other books in the series

Freud (2 books)
  • The Death Instinct (Freud, #2)

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Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
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“Unhappiness is caused when we cannot let go of our memories.” 29 likes
“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.” 25 likes
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