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What separates The Fig Eater from ordinary mystery fiction is the look it offers at detective work in the early 20th century, as the methods used moved from folklore and ignorance to the scientific. Photography of the era often resulted in the loss of fingers. Forensic methods so familiar to us now were unheard of, and the use of psychological profiling to capture killers was a young science unknown by most of the general populace.
Shields introduces the reader to Dora's family and acquaintances, giving depth to the characters only briefly discussed in Freud's case study of Dora. She takes liberties with the historical record (this is, after all, a novel) but creates a plausible scenario of what might have happened while depicting a brooding turn-of-the-century Vienna replete with gorgeous details of food, fashion, botany, and manners. The film rights have been optioned by Miramax, and if the author had her way, she says, it would star Liam Neeson and Judi Dench. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Really terrible book. I couldn't stand the plot and neither could anyone in my bookclub.Published 3 months ago by Jfishmommy
I needed more explanations for : who cut off the thumb; why did Wally and Erzebett kill Zelenca or at least contribute to his death rather than turn him in; and who deficated next... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Charles J Banasky
Probably the strangest book I've ever read -- and I read a lot. I did finish it just to know how it ended. I agree with some other reviewers -- too many details. Read morePublished 7 months ago by H. Trombley
I felt the writing was disjointed and hard to follow. The descriptions were very good but the characters were unclear regarding their interactions. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Carroll Northrop
Read the book for my mystery book club. I didn't like the back and forth and the French words on comments. Seems it broke the trend of the story. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Meg Moore
If you have the choice of reading it or not reading it, don't waste your time on it. I would not give it one star except I have to in order to submit thiisPublished 22 months ago by Marjorie Weidner
The very title of the book is a pun ... if one understands the Viennese patois.The rest of the book is a very nostalgic trip through 'old' Vienna presented in the guise of a... Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by Reinhold Beuer-Tajovsky
When I first picked up this book from a local bookstore whose recommendations I trust (no, not Barnes & Noble), I thought "wow, a great find, a thriller in Vienna. Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by Tatyana
Most intriguing narrative voice and excellent evocation of the cauldron of Vienna at the turn of the century. Read morePublished on February 23, 2013 by Amazon Customer