Sunday, July 22, 2007


Pages: 474
Date: 21/07/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 2 The Liebermann Papers

In Vienna in 1902 a serial killer is on the loose, committing the most horrific and apparently random murders.
Detective Inspector Reinhardt turns to his friend, Dr. Max Liebermann, a disciple of Freud's, for assistance. But Max can't connect the murders either, until a night at the opera gives him a sudden insight into what moves the killer. This musical outing even connects a dead snake to the subsequent murders.
The investigators are soon looking into Vienna's secret societies and finding themselves face to face with mythical theories and the sort of racial prejudice that would 30 years later be the foundation for Hitler's "philosophy".
Meanwhile, Liebermann is also facing private demons when he starts to doubt his feelings for Clara, the girl he's engaged to and now finds he doesn't love and can't marry.
Fascinating mystery in an equally fascinating setting. The writing is beautiful with descriptions giving a real feel for Vienna in the early 20th century.
And because the reader has the benefit of hindsight, reading the thoughts and feelings of some of the members of the secret societies is far more scary for the reader than it is for the characters in the book, who can't take those ideas seriously. Makes you wonder what history would have looked like if people had taken those scary ideas seriously at such an early stage. Would that have been able to prevent the great destruction that was inflicted upon the world just over 30 years later?

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