The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld


Historical MysteryThe Interpretation of Murder The Interpretation of MurderJed Rubenfeld; Henry Holt and Co. 2006WorldCat

Dr. Stratham Younger is a psychoanalyst following Dr. Freud’s teachings. Dr. Freud is arriving in New York to accept an honorary degree and give some speeches at Clark University. Dr. Younger has been given the honor of escorting the eminent doctor around the city until the doctor and his companions go to Clark. He is accompanied by two doctors who are his followers, Sandor Ferenczi and Carl Jung.

At the time they arrive a young woman has been ghoulishly murdered in one of New York’s new, posh apartment buildings. The body then disappears from the morgue. But the next day another of society’s young women is attacked in the same fashion, but screams and the attacker runs before she is killed. Because of Dr. Younger’s success with his patients in Boston, he is asked to treat Nora Acton when she goes into understandable shock after the attack.

Charles Hugel, the New York City coroner, and Detective Jimmy Littlemore are charged with the murder investigation. At first they agree on a suspect, but as the investigation continues their paths go different ways. Then Littlemore is purposefully struck by a hit and run driver of one of the new automobiles that are replacing horses and his body ends up in Hugel’s morgue.

The Interpretation of Murder is set in 1909 New York City. Rubenfeld brings the city to realistic life. He has done his historical and medical research to give this novel a rich background. I was quickly pulled into the novel.

The mystery is full of interesting twists and turns, taking the reader from elite New York City society through different social classes on through Chinatown. I was confused and disappointed by the resolution and ending of Nora’s part of the mystery. The antogonist was a surprise to me, but perhaps a more astute reader who is concentrating may be able to figure it out.

Despite my problems with the ending, I recommend this book. The Interpretation of Murder is a good novel.

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