Experienced readers of crime and thrillers tend to stifle a yawn these days when they encounter a mountain of hype about a new book or author. But the fevered word of mouth that has been generated by Jed Rubenfeld's The Interpretation of Murder is, for once, justified. This is a remarkably ambitious book, taking on a powerful suspenseful narrative, assiduously researched historical detail and a brilliant evocation of time and character. It's not surprising that the … mehrbook has already been sold in 20 different countries, and is already something of an international publishing phenomenon. The secret, of course, is in plotting, and few carry this off as adroitly as the author does here. But there is some wonderful historical detail here also, and a conjuring up of real-life characters that is very intelligently done. Despite the outward success of his visit to the USA, Sigmund Freud always spoke as if some trauma had befallen him there. He blamed the country for physical ailments that afflicted him long before his visit. Freud's biographers have been bemused by his reaction, wondering whether some terrible unknown event might have happened in America that could explain this. The Interpretation of Murder is strikingly written literary thriller constructed around Freud's American visit. An attractive young debutante is discovered bound, whipped and strangled in a luxurious New York apartment and another society beauty narrowly escapes the same fate. But nothing about the attacks--or the victims--is as it seems.
-- Barry Forshaw weniger