Summer Reading B2G1 Free
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Q&A | July 20, 2015

    Jesse Ball: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Jesse Ball



    Describe your latest book. I woke up one day from a sort of daydream with an idea for a book's structure, and for the thread of that book, one... Continue »
    1. $16.80 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      A Cure for Suicide

      Jesse Ball 9781101870129

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$2.50
List price: $16.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse Mystery- A to Z

The Interpretation of Murder

by

The Interpretation of Murder Cover

ISBN13: 9780312427054
ISBN10: 0312427050
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $2.50!

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

There is no mystery to happiness.

 

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 scornor worse, indifferencecleaves 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 doesnt look ahead. He lives in the present.

 

But theres 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 meaningthe meaning of his dreams, his secrets, his lifea 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.

 

For myself, I have always chosen meaning. Which, I suppose, is how I came to be waiting in the swelter and mob of Hoboken Harbor on Sunday evening, August 29, 1909, for the arrival of the Norddeutsche Lloyd steamship George Washington, bound from Bremen, carrying to our shores the one man in the world I wanted most to meet.

 

At 7 p.m. there was still no sign of the ship. Abraham Brill, my friend and fellow physician, was waiting at the harbor for the same reason as I. He could hardly contain himself, fidgeting and smoking incessantly. The heat was murderous, the air thick with the reek of fish. An unnatural fog rose from the water, as if the sea were steaming. Horns sounded heavily out in the deeper water, their sources invisible. Even the keening gulls could be only heard, not seen. A ridiculous premonition came to me that the George Washington had run aground in the fog, her twenty-five hundred European passengers drowning at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. Twilight came, but the temperature did not abate. We waited.

 

All at once, the vast white ship appearednot as a dot on the horizon, but mammoth, emerging from the mist full-blown before our eyes. The entire pier, with a collective gasp, drew back at the apparition. But the spell was broken by the outbreak of harbormens cries, the flinging and catching of rope, the bustle and jostle that followed. Within minutes, a hundred stevedores were unloading freight.

 

Brill, yelling at me to follow, shouldered through to the gangway. His entreaties to board were rebuffed; no one was being let on or off the ship. It was another hour before Brill yanked at my sleeve and pointed to three passengers descending the bridge. The first of the trio was a distinguished, immaculately groomed, gray-haired, and gray-bearded gentleman whom I knew at once to be the Viennese psychiatrist Dr. Sigmund Freud.

 

 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, an architectural paroxysm shook New York City. Gigantic towers called skyscrapers soared up one after the other, higher than anything built by the hand of man before. At a ribbon-cutting on Liberty Street in 1908, the top hats applauded as Mayor McClellan declared the forty-seven-story redbrick and bluestone Singer Building the worlds tallest structure. Eighteen months later, the mayor had to repeat the same ceremony at the fifty-story Metropolitan Life tower on Twenty-fourth Street. But even then, they were already breaking ground for Mr. Woolworths staggering fifty-eight-story ziggurat back downtown.

 

On every block, enormous steel-beam skeletons appeared where empty lots had been the day before. The smash and scream of steam shovels never ceased. The only comparison was with Haussmanns transformation of Paris a half century earlier, but in New York there was no single vision behind the scenes, no unifying plan, no disciplining authority. Capital and speculation drove everything, releasing fantastic energies, distinctly American and individualistic.

 

The masculinity of it all was undeniable. On the ground, the implacable Manhattan grid, with its two hundred numbered east-west streets and twelve north-south avenues, gave the city a stamp of abstract rectilinear order. Above this, in the immensity of the towering structures, with their peacock-like embellishments, it was all ambition, speculation, competition, domination, even lustfor height, size, and always money.

 

The Balmoral, on the BoulevardNew Yorkers at the time referred to Broadway from Fifty-ninth to 155th Street as the Boulevardwas one of the grand new edifices. Its very existence was a gamble. In 1909, the very rich still lived in houses, not apartments. They “kept” apartments for short or seasonal stays in the city, but they failed to comprehend how anybody could actually live in one. The Balmoral was a bet: that the rich could be induced to change their minds if the accommodations were sufficiently opulent.

 

The Balmoral rose seventeen stories, higher and grander than any apartment buildingany residential buildinghad ever climbed before. Its four wings occupied an entire city block. Its lobby, where seals cavorted in a Roman fountain, shone with white Carrara marble. Chandeliers in every apartment sparkled with Murano glass. The smallest dwelling had eight rooms; the largest boasted fourteen bedrooms, seven baths, a grand ballroom with a twenty-foot ceiling, and full maids service. This rented for the appalling sum of $495 a month.

 

The owner of the Balmoral, Mr. George Banwell, enjoyed the enviable position of being unable to lose money on it. His investors had advanced $6,000,000 toward its construction, of which he had kept not a penny, scrupulously remitting the entire amount to the builder, the American Steel and Fabrication Company. The owner of this firm, however, was also Mr. George Banwell, and the actual construction cost was $4,200,000. On January 1, 1909, six months before the Balmoral was to open, Mr. Banwell announced that all but two of the apartments were already let. The announcement was pure invention, but it was believed, and therefore within three weeks it was so. Mr. Banwell had mastered the great truth that truth itself, like buildings, can be manufactured.

 

The Balmorals exterior belonged to the Beaux-Arts school at its most flamboyant. Crowning the roofline were a quartet of thirteen-foot floor-to-ceiling glass-paned concrete arches, one at each corner of the property. Because these great arched windows gave off the top floors four master bedrooms, someone standing outside them could have had a very compromising view inside. On Sunday night, August 29, the view from outside the Alabaster Wing would have been shocking indeed. A slender young woman was standing within, lit by a dozen flickering candles, barely clothed, exquisitely proportioned, her wrists tied together over her head, and her throat embraced by another binding, a mans white silk tie, which a strong hand was making tight, exceedingly tight, causing her to choke.

 

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 girls 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?”

 

 

Dr. Freud, I was relieved to see, did not look like a madman at all. His countenance was authoritative, his head well formed, his beard pointed, neat, professional. He was about five-foot-eight, roundish, but quite fit and solid for a man of fifty-three. His suit was of excellent cloth, with a watch chain and cravat in the continental style. Altogether, he looked remarkably sound f

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
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

Other books you might like

  1. A Rage in Harlem (Vintage Crime) Used Trade Paper $6.95
  2. The Pale Blue Eye (P.S.)
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  3. Dead Even Used Mass Market $2.95
  4. Citizen Vince Used Trade Paper $8.50
  5. Missing Persons (Dr. Alan Gregory... Used Mass Market $4.95
  6. Dr. Death (Alex Delaware Novels) Used Mass Market $4.50

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
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
$2.50 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."

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.