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The Interpretation of Murder

by

The Interpretation of Murder Cover

ISBN13: 9780312427054
ISBN10: 0312427050
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

A perfect thriller for a dark and stormy night. Move over, Holmes and Watson — Jed Rubenfeld's masterful debut features the dynamic duo of Freud and Jung, working together to catch a killer. If that set-up doesn't hook you, just wait until you see how Hamlet fits into the story.
Recommended by Hank, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"All the elements are here for a grand tale: the era of arrogant, grossly rich titans, the hovering presence of the man who cracked humankind's subconscious, and murder. Rubenfeld's novel is neatly structured, with slow reveals and cinematic twists, including trap doors and faked deaths. It might make a fine movie someday, but as a book it will leave readers cold." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 Freud disembarks from the steamship George Washington, accompanied by Carl Jung, his rival and protégé. Across town, in an opulent apartment high above the city, a stunning young woman is found dangling from a chandelier — whipped, mutilated, and strangled. The next day, a second beauty — a rebellious heiress who scorns both high society and her less adventurous parents — barely escapes the killer. Yet Nora Acton, suffering from hysteria, can recall nothing of her attack. Asked to help her, Dr. Stratham Younger, America's most committed Freudian analyst, calls in his idol, the Master himself, to guide him through the challenges of analyzing this high-spirited young woman whose family past has been as complicated as his own.

The Interpretation of Murder leads readers from the salons of Gramercy Park, through secret passages, to Chinatown — even far below the currents of the East River where laborers are building the Manhattan Bridge. As Freud fends off a mysterious conspiracy to destroy him, Younger is drawn into an equally thrilling adventure that takes him deep into the subterfuges of the human mind.

Richly satisfying, elegantly crafted, The Interpretation of Murder marks the debut of a brilliant, spectacularly entertaining new storyteller.

Review:

"The search for a serial killer during Sigmund Freud's 1909 visit to New York City, his one trip to the U.S., propels the plot of Yale law professor Rubenfeld's ambitious debut. Freud's arrival coincides with the sadistic murder of a beautiful young woman in an upscale hotel. A similar attack on another woman results in the victim's hysterical paralysis. The efforts of Dr. Stratham Younger, a protégé of Freud's, to recover the survivor's memories of her assailant lead Younger into a morass of politics, big money and kinky sexual escapades. Freud plays a background role, but the father of psychoanalysis does get to expound his ideas, demonstrate his diagnostic acumen and don an apparent martyr's robe. Readers will learn much about Freud's relationship with his then-disciple Carl Jung, the building of the Manhattan Bridge, the early opponents to Freud's theories and the central problem posed by Hamlet's 'to be or not to be' soliloquy. While not as well crafted as Caleb Carr's similarly themed The Alienist, this well-researched and thought-provoking novel is sure to be a crowd pleaser. $500,000 marketing campaign; 15-city author tour. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Readers who give this cerebral concoction even the slightest chance will be captivated by its myriad intrigues, its dubious cast of heroes and villains, and its palpable tension." Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"Given all the heady psychological and historical content, it is to Rubenfeld's credit that he still manages to propel the book along at a page-turner clip, without relying on the usual mystery formula." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram

Review:

"The novel is difficult to put down. Its ironclad, cliffhanger-rich, shooting-script structure makes it a page turner....But, as with a jaw-droppingly bad movie, just because it's riveting doesn't mean it's pleasurable." Ada Calhoun, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[A] good deal of fun. This is a genre novel and it will reward well enough those who seek to bask for some pleasant hours in the formula of the historically grounded mystery." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"[L]ong on period atmosphere and heady discussions of the Oedipus complex, short on thriller-crafting horse sense....Rubenfeld has both smarts and an admirably depraved imagination, but he needs to learn creative restraint. (Grade: B-)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Rubenfeld renders rich, complex characters, vivid period detail, and prose riddled with heady references to Hamlet." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Meaty and provocative, though also grandiose and calculated." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A] gloriously intelligent exploration of what might have happened to Sigmund Freud during his only visit to America....Rubenfeld...shows great talent for psychological suspense....[H]ighly recommended..." Library Journal

Review:

"Credit Mr. Rubenfeld with a smart, jocular approach to an elaborate undertaking....His book is a research-fueled, psycho-historical Shakespearean thriller with Da Vinci Code aspirations, and as such it is a bizarrely original hybrid." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"[A] sprightly book that engages in an undemanding but handsome made-for-cable-movie sort of way....In other words, something has been accomplished, if hysterical ambition can be transformed into ordinary entertainment." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

 
International Bestseller
#1 U.K. Bestseller
The Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
 
In the summer of 1909, Sigmund Freud arrived by steamship in New York Harbor for a short visit to America. Though he would live another thirty years, he would never return to this country. Little is known about the week he spent in Manhattan, and Freud's biographers have long speculated as to why, in his later years, he referred to Americans as "savages" and "criminals."

 

In The Interpretation of Murder, Jed Rubenfeld weaves the facts of Freud's visit into a riveting, atmospheric story of corruption and murder set all over turn-of-the-century New York. Drawing on case histories, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the historical details of a city on the brink of modernity, The Interpretation of Murder introduces a brilliant new storyteller, a novelist who, in the words of The New York Times, "will be no ordinary pop-cultural sensation."

Currently the Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld is one of this country's foremost experts on constitutional law. He lives in Connecticut.
National Bestseller
 
The Interpretation of Murder opens on a hot summer night in 1909 as Sigmund Freud disembarks in New York from a steamship. With Freud is his rival Carl Jung; waiting for him on the docks is a young physician named Stratham Younger, one of Freud's most devoted American supporters. So begins this story of what will be the great genius's firstand lastjourney to America.

 

The morning after his arrival, a beautiful young woman is found dead in an apartment in one of the city's grand new skyscrapers, The Balmoral. The next day brings a similar crime in a townhouse on Gramercy Park. Only this time the young heiress, Nora Acton, escapes with her lifebut with no memory of the attack. Asked to consult on the case, Dr. Younger calls on Freud to guide him through the girl's analysis. Their investigation, and the pursuit of the culprit, lead throughout New York, from the luxurious ballrooms of the Waldorf-Astoria, to the skyscrapers rising on seemingly every street corner, to the bottom of the East River, where laborers are digging through the silt to build the foundation of the Manhattan Bridge.

 

Drawing on Freud's case histories, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the historical details of a city on the brink of modernity, The Interpretation of Murder introduces a brilliant new storyteller who, in the words of The New York Times, "will be no ordinary pop cultural sensation."

“As The Interpretation of Murder races past ravished damsels, sinister aristocrats, architectural marvels (the building of the Manhattan Bridge), hysterical symptoms, a Hamlet-Freud nexus and downright criminal wordplay (‘there are more things in heaven and earth, Herr Professor, than are dreamt in your psychology; ‘sometimes a catarrh, Im afraid, is only a catarrh), it cobbles together its own brand of excitement. That excitement is as palpable as it is peculiar.”Janet Maslin, The New York Times
 
"A compelling, expertly crafted murder mystery . . . Carefully researched detail is just one reason The Interpretation of Murder is shaping up to be this year's Historian."Entertainment Weekly

 

"This baroque tale of egos and ids run rampant will be a welcome treat to fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist. . . . Find a couch and prepare for a page-turning session."Daily News (New York)

 

"Using a dizzying number of points of view and keeping the action taut, Rubenfeld leavens the intellectual heft with sly wit."People

 

"Well researched . . . Jed Rubenfeld's entertaining psychological thriller is full of enjoyable twists and turns."BookPage

 

"Rubenfeld's rendering of early-twentieth-century Manhattan is engrossing."The Village Voice

 

"Rubenfeld knows how to keep readers turning pages. He steeps the story in history without waterlogging it, moving things along with well-crafted action scenes."The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

"A finely written and researched historical novel."Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

"Proves once again that crime and literature need not be separate beasts."Rocky Mountain News (grade: A)

 

"[A] brilliant conceit . . . Rubenfeld takes the reader on a beguiling tour of the opium dens of Chinatown, the haunts of the rich at Gramercy Park, and even the subterranean construction site of the Manhattan Bridge under the East River. . . . Dazzling."The Independent (U.K.)

 
"Rubenfeld kicks things into high gear right from the start. . . . The depth of research Rubenfeld engaged in is evident on nearly every page. And in great historical mystery novels, a lesson in civics and criminology is always the by-product, just as it is here. . . . A compelling mystery."Pages

 

"This is a bold page-turner that propels us from the start with a driving plot and intriguing characters, but also with ideasa whole history of ideas. It's a richly motivated thriller that will make you reconsider the mysteries of Freud and Hamlet. Here is a novel that you'll only want to put down in order to think more about the book."Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club
 
“This is a gloriously intelligent exploration of what might have happened to Sigmund Freud during his only visit to America. The tortured body of a young society woman is found in a posh New York apartment in the summer of 1909. A day later, beautiful Nora Acton is found with similar marks, only she has managed to survive the brutal attack. Freud, en route with Carl Jung to a speaking engagement in Boston, finds himself drawn into the investigation. He asks an American colleague to psychoanalyze Nora, who has repressed all memory of the attack. Meanwhile, a determined if inexperienced police detective follows another trail. Can Freud and his fellow psychoanalysts find the killer before he strikes again? Filled with period detail, this historical thriller challenges the reader to reason out the mystery. Rubenfeld shows great talent for psychological suspense and uses shifting viewpoints to build tension. Fans of Caleb Carr will adore this work.”Laurel Bliss, Princeton University Library, New Jersey, Library Journal

 

“Sigmund Freud and friends play Sherlock Holmes in an Alienist-style historical murder mystery. Human monsters stalk the teeming streets of early-20th-century New York City in Rubenfeld's ambitious debut. A sadist is assaulting rich society girls with whips and blades. Is the villain unscrupulous, wealthy entrepreneur George Banwell, who is mean to his horses and denies his gorgeous wife sexual intercourse because pregnancy would ruin her figure? Is it mysterious William Leon of Chinatown, in whose room one of the corpses is found? Or could Harry Thaw, notorious murderer of Stanford White, be slipping out from Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane? Freud, making his only visit to America, to lecture at Clark Universi

Synopsis:

 
International Bestseller
#1 U.K. Bestseller
The Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
 
In the summer of 1909, Sigmund Freud arrived by steamship in New York Harbor for a short visit to America. Though he would live another thirty years, he would never return to this country. Little is known about the week he spent in Manhattan, and Freud's biographers have long speculated as to why, in his later years, he referred to Americans as "savages" and "criminals."

 

In The Interpretation of Murder, Jed Rubenfeld weaves the facts of Freud's visit into a riveting, atmospheric story of corruption and murder set all over turn-of-the-century New York. Drawing on case histories, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the historical details of a city on the brink of modernity, The Interpretation of Murder introduces a brilliant new storyteller, a novelist who, in the words of The New York Times, "will be no ordinary pop-cultural sensation."

About the Author

Currently a professor of law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld is one of this country's foremost experts on constitutional law. He wrote his Princeton undergraduate thesis on Sigmund Freud and studied Shakespeare at Julliard. He lives in Connecticut.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Kristen M, January 21, 2010 (view all comments by Kristen M)
This book had a few flaws that kept me from totally enjoying it. First, the characters, on more than one occasion, use sarcasm. The problem with this is that it's hard to read sarcasm. I couldn't help thinking that this probably worked better as an audiobook.

Second, there are few modern male authors that don't creep me out when they write about sex. This book didn't even really have any actual sex in it but there were references to body parts and such and it was just so awkward and almost immature that it was off-putting. I mean, he used the words "down there". Awkward.

Finally, I just felt that the book needed some more editing for flow. The book is less than 400 pages long but for some reason it had five "Parts". These weren't for scene change or time change purposes as the book happened in about a week and the story skipped between different narratives throughout the parts. I'm not sure what the point of the parts was. Also, there was a bit too much movement between narratives and there were some superfluous characters. This should have been a bit more polished.

The copy I have of this novel has a review from Matthew Pearl on the back, whose books I have enjoyed. Now that I re-read the review, it's very well crafted to not actually say that it's a good book but to say that the plot is compelling and that the ideas of the book are intriguing, which I totally agree with.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312427054
Author:
Rubenfeld, Jed
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Subject:
Mystery Historical
Subject:
Thrillers/Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20070531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
8.31 x 5.46 x 0.83 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical

The Interpretation of Murder Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Picador USA - English 9780312427054 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A perfect thriller for a dark and stormy night. Move over, Holmes and Watson — Jed Rubenfeld's masterful debut features the dynamic duo of Freud and Jung, working together to catch a killer. If that set-up doesn't hook you, just wait until you see how Hamlet fits into the story.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The search for a serial killer during Sigmund Freud's 1909 visit to New York City, his one trip to the U.S., propels the plot of Yale law professor Rubenfeld's ambitious debut. Freud's arrival coincides with the sadistic murder of a beautiful young woman in an upscale hotel. A similar attack on another woman results in the victim's hysterical paralysis. The efforts of Dr. Stratham Younger, a protégé of Freud's, to recover the survivor's memories of her assailant lead Younger into a morass of politics, big money and kinky sexual escapades. Freud plays a background role, but the father of psychoanalysis does get to expound his ideas, demonstrate his diagnostic acumen and don an apparent martyr's robe. Readers will learn much about Freud's relationship with his then-disciple Carl Jung, the building of the Manhattan Bridge, the early opponents to Freud's theories and the central problem posed by Hamlet's 'to be or not to be' soliloquy. While not as well crafted as Caleb Carr's similarly themed The Alienist, this well-researched and thought-provoking novel is sure to be a crowd pleaser. $500,000 marketing campaign; 15-city author tour. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "All the elements are here for a grand tale: the era of arrogant, grossly rich titans, the hovering presence of the man who cracked humankind's subconscious, and murder. Rubenfeld's novel is neatly structured, with slow reveals and cinematic twists, including trap doors and faked deaths. It might make a fine movie someday, but as a book it will leave readers cold." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "Readers who give this cerebral concoction even the slightest chance will be captivated by its myriad intrigues, its dubious cast of heroes and villains, and its palpable tension."
"Review" by , "Given all the heady psychological and historical content, it is to Rubenfeld's credit that he still manages to propel the book along at a page-turner clip, without relying on the usual mystery formula."
"Review" by , "The novel is difficult to put down. Its ironclad, cliffhanger-rich, shooting-script structure makes it a page turner....But, as with a jaw-droppingly bad movie, just because it's riveting doesn't mean it's pleasurable."
"Review" by , "[A] good deal of fun. This is a genre novel and it will reward well enough those who seek to bask for some pleasant hours in the formula of the historically grounded mystery."
"Review" by , "[L]ong on period atmosphere and heady discussions of the Oedipus complex, short on thriller-crafting horse sense....Rubenfeld has both smarts and an admirably depraved imagination, but he needs to learn creative restraint. (Grade: B-)"
"Review" by , "Rubenfeld renders rich, complex characters, vivid period detail, and prose riddled with heady references to Hamlet." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Review" by , "Meaty and provocative, though also grandiose and calculated."
"Review" by , "[A] gloriously intelligent exploration of what might have happened to Sigmund Freud during his only visit to America....Rubenfeld...shows great talent for psychological suspense....[H]ighly recommended..."
"Review" by , "Credit Mr. Rubenfeld with a smart, jocular approach to an elaborate undertaking....His book is a research-fueled, psycho-historical Shakespearean thriller with Da Vinci Code aspirations, and as such it is a bizarrely original hybrid."
"Review" by , "[A] sprightly book that engages in an undemanding but handsome made-for-cable-movie sort of way....In other words, something has been accomplished, if hysterical ambition can be transformed into ordinary entertainment."
"Synopsis" by ,
 
International Bestseller
#1 U.K. Bestseller
The Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
 
In the summer of 1909, Sigmund Freud arrived by steamship in New York Harbor for a short visit to America. Though he would live another thirty years, he would never return to this country. Little is known about the week he spent in Manhattan, and Freud's biographers have long speculated as to why, in his later years, he referred to Americans as "savages" and "criminals."

 

In The Interpretation of Murder, Jed Rubenfeld weaves the facts of Freud's visit into a riveting, atmospheric story of corruption and murder set all over turn-of-the-century New York. Drawing on case histories, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the historical details of a city on the brink of modernity, The Interpretation of Murder introduces a brilliant new storyteller, a novelist who, in the words of The New York Times, "will be no ordinary pop-cultural sensation."

Currently the Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld is one of this country's foremost experts on constitutional law. He lives in Connecticut.
National Bestseller
 
The Interpretation of Murder opens on a hot summer night in 1909 as Sigmund Freud disembarks in New York from a steamship. With Freud is his rival Carl Jung; waiting for him on the docks is a young physician named Stratham Younger, one of Freud's most devoted American supporters. So begins this story of what will be the great genius's firstand lastjourney to America.

 

The morning after his arrival, a beautiful young woman is found dead in an apartment in one of the city's grand new skyscrapers, The Balmoral. The next day brings a similar crime in a townhouse on Gramercy Park. Only this time the young heiress, Nora Acton, escapes with her lifebut with no memory of the attack. Asked to consult on the case, Dr. Younger calls on Freud to guide him through the girl's analysis. Their investigation, and the pursuit of the culprit, lead throughout New York, from the luxurious ballrooms of the Waldorf-Astoria, to the skyscrapers rising on seemingly every street corner, to the bottom of the East River, where laborers are digging through the silt to build the foundation of the Manhattan Bridge.

 

Drawing on Freud's case histories, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the historical details of a city on the brink of modernity, The Interpretation of Murder introduces a brilliant new storyteller who, in the words of The New York Times, "will be no ordinary pop cultural sensation."

“As The Interpretation of Murder races past ravished damsels, sinister aristocrats, architectural marvels (the building of the Manhattan Bridge), hysterical symptoms, a Hamlet-Freud nexus and downright criminal wordplay (‘there are more things in heaven and earth, Herr Professor, than are dreamt in your psychology; ‘sometimes a catarrh, Im afraid, is only a catarrh), it cobbles together its own brand of excitement. That excitement is as palpable as it is peculiar.”Janet Maslin, The New York Times
 
"A compelling, expertly crafted murder mystery . . . Carefully researched detail is just one reason The Interpretation of Murder is shaping up to be this year's Historian."Entertainment Weekly

 

"This baroque tale of egos and ids run rampant will be a welcome treat to fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist. . . . Find a couch and prepare for a page-turning session."Daily News (New York)

 

"Using a dizzying number of points of view and keeping the action taut, Rubenfeld leavens the intellectual heft with sly wit."People

 

"Well researched . . . Jed Rubenfeld's entertaining psychological thriller is full of enjoyable twists and turns."BookPage

 

"Rubenfeld's rendering of early-twentieth-century Manhattan is engrossing."The Village Voice

 

"Rubenfeld knows how to keep readers turning pages. He steeps the story in history without waterlogging it, moving things along with well-crafted action scenes."The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

"A finely written and researched historical novel."Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

"Proves once again that crime and literature need not be separate beasts."Rocky Mountain News (grade: A)

 

"[A] brilliant conceit . . . Rubenfeld takes the reader on a beguiling tour of the opium dens of Chinatown, the haunts of the rich at Gramercy Park, and even the subterranean construction site of the Manhattan Bridge under the East River. . . . Dazzling."The Independent (U.K.)

 
"Rubenfeld kicks things into high gear right from the start. . . . The depth of research Rubenfeld engaged in is evident on nearly every page. And in great historical mystery novels, a lesson in civics and criminology is always the by-product, just as it is here. . . . A compelling mystery."Pages

 

"This is a bold page-turner that propels us from the start with a driving plot and intriguing characters, but also with ideasa whole history of ideas. It's a richly motivated thriller that will make you reconsider the mysteries of Freud and Hamlet. Here is a novel that you'll only want to put down in order to think more about the book."Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club
 
“This is a gloriously intelligent exploration of what might have happened to Sigmund Freud during his only visit to America. The tortured body of a young society woman is found in a posh New York apartment in the summer of 1909. A day later, beautiful Nora Acton is found with similar marks, only she has managed to survive the brutal attack. Freud, en route with Carl Jung to a speaking engagement in Boston, finds himself drawn into the investigation. He asks an American colleague to psychoanalyze Nora, who has repressed all memory of the attack. Meanwhile, a determined if inexperienced police detective follows another trail. Can Freud and his fellow psychoanalysts find the killer before he strikes again? Filled with period detail, this historical thriller challenges the reader to reason out the mystery. Rubenfeld shows great talent for psychological suspense and uses shifting viewpoints to build tension. Fans of Caleb Carr will adore this work.”Laurel Bliss, Princeton University Library, New Jersey, Library Journal

 

“Sigmund Freud and friends play Sherlock Holmes in an Alienist-style historical murder mystery. Human monsters stalk the teeming streets of early-20th-century New York City in Rubenfeld's ambitious debut. A sadist is assaulting rich society girls with whips and blades. Is the villain unscrupulous, wealthy entrepreneur George Banwell, who is mean to his horses and denies his gorgeous wife sexual intercourse because pregnancy would ruin her figure? Is it mysterious William Leon of Chinatown, in whose room one of the corpses is found? Or could Harry Thaw, notorious murderer of Stanford White, be slipping out from Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane? Freud, making his only visit to America, to lecture at Clark Universi

"Synopsis" by ,
 
International Bestseller
#1 U.K. Bestseller
The Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
 
In the summer of 1909, Sigmund Freud arrived by steamship in New York Harbor for a short visit to America. Though he would live another thirty years, he would never return to this country. Little is known about the week he spent in Manhattan, and Freud's biographers have long speculated as to why, in his later years, he referred to Americans as "savages" and "criminals."

 

In The Interpretation of Murder, Jed Rubenfeld weaves the facts of Freud's visit into a riveting, atmospheric story of corruption and murder set all over turn-of-the-century New York. Drawing on case histories, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the historical details of a city on the brink of modernity, The Interpretation of Murder introduces a brilliant new storyteller, a novelist who, in the words of The New York Times, "will be no ordinary pop-cultural sensation."

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