A young woman has been murdered in 1909 New York City, and one traumatized girl holds the key to finding the killer in Jed Rubenfeld's highly anticipated literary mystery, The Interpretation of Murder. Freudian analyst Dr. Stratham Younger is called in to try to recover Nora Acton's memories, and he receives aid from none other than Freud himself, who is visiting America with his then-protÅ½gÅ½ Carl Jung. Nora was found half-strangled and beaten in her family's mansion, and the community is scandalized. But when Nora implicates one of her father's friends, who has an airtight alibi for the night in question, investigators wonder whether she inflicted the wounds on herself, despite the fact that another girl was found dead from identical injuries the day before.
Freud's involvement in solving the mystery is minimal, but those interested in his theories will find much to think about. Though Younger admires Freud and believes in psychoanalysis, he has difficulty accepting the Oedipal theory, especially when it's applied to the beautiful Miss Acton. As Younger analyzes Nora, he falls in love (but is it transference?) and is drawn deeper into the mystery. The Interpretation of Murder is well researched, though sometimes obviously so, especially some of the lengthier passages on psychoanalysis and New York society. Still, Rubenfeld's entertaining psychological thriller is full of enjoyable twists and turns.