Synopses & Reviews
The second in the Dr. Max Liebermann series, literature’s first psychoanalytic detective.
In the grip of a Siberian winter in 1902, a serial killer in Vienna embarks upon a bizarre campaign of murder. Vicious mutilation, a penchant for arcane symbols, and a seemingly random choice of victim are his most distinctive peculiarities. Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt summons a young disciple of Freud his friend, Dr. Max Liebermann to assist him with the case. The investigation draws them into the sphere of Vienna's secret societies a murky underworld of German literary scholars, race theorists, and scientists inspired by the new evolutionary theories coming out of England. At first, the killer's mind seems impenetrable his behaviour and cryptic clues impervious to psychoanalytic interpretation; however, gradually, it becomes apparent that an extraordinary and shocking rationale underlies his actions...
Against this backdrop of mystery and terror, Liebermann struggles with his own demons. The treatment of a patient suffering from paranoia erotica (a delusion of love) and his own fascination with the enigmatic Englishwoman Amelia Lydgate raises doubts concerning the propriety of his imminent marriage. To resolve the dilemma, he must entertain the unthinkable risking opprobrium and accusations of cowardice.
"British clinical psychologist Tallis follows his superior debut, A Death in Vienna (2007), with this gripping sequel. Viennese Det. Insp. Oskar Rheinhardt, already faced with finding the person who butchered the emperor's favorite anaconda, comes under even more pressure from his superiors when several murders are committed in quick succession. The inspector enlists the assistance of insightful Freud disciple Max Liebermann, who quickly deduces that the killer is choosing his victims to correspond with the plot of Mozart's The Magic Flute. The book's strength lies in the relationship and interplay between the two detectives, whose friendship, which includes a shared love of music, may remind some of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin. The clever plotting and quality writing elevate this above most other historicals, even if the solution to the crimes comes as no great surprise." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[An] intelligent, challenging, masterfully crafted series....[An] enthralling, unusual, intelligently written literary thriller. A superb book for mystery buffs, history lovers, and connoisseurs of European culture." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[O]ne of the finest literary thrillers I've ever read. It's a dazzling tour de force....Impatient readers need not apply, but for everyone else this is the perfect book to curl up with by the fire on a winter evening....[T]he first great thriller of 2008." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post Book World
"[A] fine sequel to A Death in Vienna....The professional rapport and easy friendship of this duo lend a bit of quiet charm to a series that, rather like a Viennese pastry, is stuffed almost to bursting with showy delights." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
In 1902, a serial killer in Vienna embarks upon a bizarre campaign of murder. Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt summons Dr. Max Liebermann to assist him with the case. The investigation draws them into the sphere of Vienna's secret societies, in this second novel to feature literature's first psychoanalytic detective.
About the Author
Frank Tallis is a writer and practicing clinical psychologist. He has published seven non-fiction works (including Changing Minds: The History of Psychotherapy as an Answer to Human Suffering; and Hidden Minds: A History of the Unconscious). His new novel, Lovesick, is also published by Century.