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Vienna Secrets: A Max Liebermann Mystery Paperback – February 23, 2010

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Vienna Secrets: A Max Liebermann Mystery + Vienna Twilight: A Max Liebermann Mystery (Liebermann Papers Volume Five) + Fatal Lies: A Max Liebermann Mystery
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The fifth Max Liebermann mystery (following Fatal Lies, 2009) finds the psychiatrist once again wrapped up in a police investigation. This time headless bodies start appearing in front of statues all across Vienna. Tallis continues to evoke the sights, sounds, food, and culture of turn-of the-century Vienna; but this time anti-Semitism is a dark whisper in the background, and Liebermann, a non-observant Jew, finds himself worried for his career. The historical details of police work and forensic investigation again are a strong point, and with this book’s inclusion of a trip to Prague, readers are introduced to another fascinating city. Liebermann’s trip is inspired by a desire to understand more about his past and culture, and the resulting backstory will please series fans interested in knowing more about this appealing protagonist. A solid entry in an excellent historical mystery series. --Jessica Moyer

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“A strong, intelligent plot and a terrific atmosphere of fin-de-siècle Vienna.”—The Times, London

"Tallis's excellent fourth puzzler set in early 20th-century Vienna (after 2008's Fatal Lies) neatly blends mystery and history...Fans of Caleb Carr will feel right at home." —Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"The historical details of police work and forensic investigation again are a strong point, and with this book’s inclusion of a trip to Prague, readers are introduced to another fascinating city...A solid entry in an excellent historical mystery series." —Booklist

"Captivating...[an] elegantly designed and executed period mystery." –New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Max Liebermann (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812980999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812980998
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,025,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Frank Tallis is a consultant clinical psychologist at the Charter Nightingale Hospital in London. He has also written How to Stop Worrying (1990) and is a trustee of Obsessive Action, a charity which helps sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and their families.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on July 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In any series, some books are stronger than others. The fourth book of Frank Tallis' "Lieberman Papers" falls somewhere in the middle. Set in 1903 Vienna, the many things I have come to enjoy in his series are all here: the epicurian and musical references, the intertwining of Freudian psychoanalysis with the final resolution of the crime, and the friendship between psychologist Max Lieberman and police commissioner Oscar Rhinehardt. Yet _Darkness Rising_ wasn't as taught a mystery as A Death in Vienna: A Novel (Mortalis), nor did it keep me guessing as in Fatal Lies: A Novel (Mortalis). In this installment of the Liberman papers, I was always a step (or two) ahead of Lieberman as he worked the case.

Anti-semitism runs throughout _Darkness Rising_, an ugly feature common to central Europe at the time, and an issue Tallis has shown before. Here, however, it takes a much different turn as Liberman becomes a target of politically motivated hate, even as he works to solve the grisly murders of anti-semites throughout the city. The depth of the anti-semitism almost overshadows the work at resolving the murders themselves, although both are closely intertwined.

Aside from the murders themselves, Tallis treats us to a vivid description of central Europe, this time of Prague, from its Mala Strana and Stare Mastro to the rich Czech cusine - as he has done with Vienna, the flavors, sights and sounds of Prague are brought to life. Likewise he shows us the crucial place Jews had in k.u.k.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeff VINE VOICE on February 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
You'll know very quickly whether this book is for you when you star reading it, but let me try to help you figure that out even sooner.

You'll love this book if:

1) You like historical fiction.
2) Appreciate well written prose with well drawn characters
3) Have interest in turn of the century Vienna, Jewish culture, and/or psychoanalysis
4) Like novels with lots of subplots
5) Like novels with lots of local color about food, surroundings; novels that give you a 'You are there!' feel.
6) Like it when you can see plot developments coming in advance.

You should pass on this book if:

1) The above does not appeal to you.
2) You like action or a fast moving pace of writing.
3) Stylized, measured writing styles turn you off.
4) You like plot twists that surprise or amaze.

I found Vienna Secrets to be a quintessential historical novel. I enjoyed the sense of place but found the exposition over long. This novel is two thirds mystery and one third travelogue of a bygone time, and that ratio was just a little too heavy on the travelogue aspect for me. But for people who fit the six criteria above, it will be a great read.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Frank Tallis is one of my favourite crime novelists along with Henning Mankell, Michael Connelly, and Helene Tursten. He has a unique attribute that is unlike any other. His writing is very literary, sometimes a little too much so, rather than colloquial. However, his style fits perfectly with his novels whose historical background is canvasing the turn of the 19th century, when formality, vanity and hierarchical social structure was regarded much like a norm than now. His literary style also plays a big role in making jokes that look deadpan and subtle.

To me, his novel is not for speed reading despite the nature of the story therein - gruesome murder, chasing the suspects, etc. If you are in haste to follow the storyline and to discover how it pans out, you will miss a significant portion of his novel's virtue. His storytelling requires close and slow reading. It should be like ruminating - reading sentences over and over.

Whenever reading Mr. Tallis, that's what I'm trying to do - reading slowly, word by word if possible. And it has always been very satisfying. Reading his novels has been like walking and navigating in a dense forest that also contains a wealth of undergrowth and wildlife.

This is his fourth "Max Liebermann Paper," and it was a good read like previous three books with a range of topics - Jewish mythology, anti-semitism, political tension and corruption, psycho-analysis, Freud, Mahler, medical ethics, you name it. Mr. Tallis has somehow made the era and society in Vienna look fascinating.

It was not always easy to go through this book since I was not familiar at all with Jewish culture and mythology. But in the end, it was an adventurous, satisfying journey that were worth taking.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Vienna Secrets," by Frank Tallis, is Volume Four of the Liebermann Papers, in which psychiatrist Max Liebermann recounts his experiences in turn-of-the-century Vienna. The year is 1903 and the atmosphere in Austria's capital is volatile. Although the status of Jews as Austrian citizens appears to be secure--after all, they hold important positions in such fields as banking, business, and medicine--their enemies, including "the clerics, the aristocracy, and conservative Slavs" are becoming increasingly vocal.

Against this menacing backdrop, Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt asks his good friend and confidante, Max, to view an extremely grisly crime scene. Someone has murdered and decapitated Brother Stanislav, a monk known for his hatred of Jews. What makes this murder particularly noteworthy is that the monk's head was literally ripped from his torso. What human being could be powerful or barbaric enough to commit such a deed? The police are baffled by this crime and by subsequent acts of butchery that also involve decapitation. Could someone with supernatural powers have exploited the secrets of ancient mysticism to unleash a vengeful monster?

Meanwhile, Max has other problems preying on his mind. After breaking his engagement to Clara, he hoped to become closer to Amelia Lydgate, but their relationship has remained maddeningly platonic. In addition, Max's efforts to protect a patient have backfired, and as a result, he has incurred the wrath of some powerful people. Still, he derives comfort from playing the piano, dining on Viennese pastries, smoking cigars, and tending to his patients, one of whom has particularly bizarre symptoms.
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