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Vienna Twilight: A Max Liebermann Mystery [Kindle Edition]

Frank Tallis
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In the dynamic and dangerous Vienna of 1903, a brilliant psychoanalyst and a brave detective battle to catch criminals who commit the most clever and brutal crimes.
Detective Inspector Oskar Reinhardt finds that young women are being slain in an unnerving—and ingenious—manner, with a small, almost undetectable, hat pin. For Dr. Max Liebermann, the killer is unique in the annals of psychopathology, one who murders in the midst of consensual love. Is the culprit a patient, one who swears he has a double, a shadow figure that is far more forward (in fact, indecent) with women? As danger mounts, Liebermann must find the answer while struggling with his own forbidden desire for a female patient.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A so-so serial killer story line mars British author Tallis's fifth novel pairing Viennese psychoanalyst Max Liebermann and Det. Insp. Oskar Rheinhardt (after 2010's Vienna Secrets). When someone drives a hatpin into the brain of a 19-year-old artist's model, Adele Zeiler, Liebermann, a colleague of Sigmund Freud, helps with the murder inquiry. Zeiler is but the first victim of a sick individual who appears to carry out his precise executions as part of a perverse sexual ritual. With the killings causing a panic in Vienna, Rheinhardt's boss is impatient for results even before the Austrian emperor expresses frustration that the crimes remain unsolved. The two companionable main characters, who share a love for music, will remind Patrick O'Brian fans of Aubrey and Maturin, but the few less-than-shocking twists aren't enough to distinguish this from the many serial killer historicals that have tried to repeat the success of Caleb Carr's The Alienist. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Perhaps one of the best, if not the best, of Tallis� Max Liebermann books, the latest in the series featuring the Viennese psychoanalyst and his friend, detective Oskar Rheinhardt, is a gripping read. Set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, the story not only provides a glimpse of Austrian politics, society, music, literature, and customs at the time but also gives a keen insight into the early development of Freudian psychoanalysis. The most compelling feature of the book, however, is the plot. A sadistic murderer is on the loose in Vienna, targeting young women and killing them with a hatpin inserted into the brain stem. With the gutter press providing salacious details of the killings and inciting panic and fear among Vienna�s citizens, Rheinhardt is under extreme pressure to find the killer. Frustrated at the lack of progress, he consults his friend Liebermann, whose psychological expertise reveals a link between one of his current patients� obsession with sex and death and the modus operandi of the savage killer. With numerous unexpected plot twists, captivating characters, intriguing intellectual interplay between Rheinhardt and Liebermann, and masterful writing, this is a must-read for all mystery buffs. --Emily Melton

Product Details

  • File Size: 538 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812981006
  • Publisher: Random House (April 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IK8PP0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,573 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
"Vienna Twilight," the fifth installment in Frank Tallis's superb mystery series, focuses on a serial killer obsessed with death; a degenerate artist, Herr Ludo Rainmayr, who paints emaciated young girls in the nude; and an agitated mental patient named Norbert Erstweiler. Dr. Max Liebermann is a psychiatrist and disciple of Sigmund Freud. He also unofficially assists his close friend, Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt. Max and Oskar attend concerts, chat over meals, make music (Max plays the piano and Oskar sings in a rich baritone), drink brandy, smoke cigars, and track down felons. Max's knowledge of abnormal psychology helps him understand the subconscious forces that drive people to commit unspeakable acts. With the help of medical student and blood expert Amelia Lydgate, Oskar and Max search for a murderer who dispatches his victims in a most unusual manner.

Tallis places us in turn-of-the-century Vienna, a city of high culture, architectural grandeur, and provocative new ideas. Although the upper classes enjoyed lives of leisure and privilege, impoverished families were barely able to put food on the table. Syphilis was a "national disease," and moral boundaries were routinely pushed to their limits. Tallis creates a vivid picture of a decadent society whose members were "preoccupied with sex and death."

The characterizations, literate and lively dialogue, and forensic details are all first rate and, along with his serious themes, Tallis includes welcome passages of wit and humor. Max, as usual, is cerebral, detached, and insightful; Oskar is efficient, principled, and overly fond of rich pastries; and Amelia talks her way into the autopsy suite, where she bonds with the eccentric pathologist, Professor Mathias. "Vienna Twilight" is an absorbing, cleverly plotted, and elegantly written work of historical fiction.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By scody
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed Frank Tallis's Liebermann series immensely -- the historical setting is unbeatable, the characters engaging, and the set-ups quite intriguing. Alas, this one seems to have been phoned in (though no doubt on a lovely vintage telephone). There is not much character development (the relationship between Liebermann and Miss Lydgate, for example, seems practically frozen), the murders at the heart of the story aren't all that mysterious, there is much less of the broader social, cultural, and political context that Tallis usually provides as framework for the novels, and the scenes between Liebermann and Rheinhardt are positively predictable at this point (the musical interludes, the obligatory savoring of pastries, etc.).

There are nods to Vienna's avant-garde arts scene in the form of a painter whose controversial work appears to be modeled on Egon Schiele's and a dress designer influenced by the Secessionists, both of which are moderately interesting. But they also suggest that perhaps Tallis would find more fertile ground in setting a novel more squarely in the Viennese art world of the time, featuring the actual artists and models/muses of the period as he has previously done with other Viennese historical figures.

All-in-all, the lightest and quickest read of Tallis's series -- pleasant enough if you're already a fan, but not ultimately very substantial.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent gaslight Vienna mystery April 16, 2011
In 1903 near the Court Theater, Constable Badem finds the corpse of a young woman. He takes control of the crime scene until Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt arrives to investigate. The victim turns out to be nineteen years old model Adele Zeiler. The predator used a hairpin jammed into her brain while they were making love.

Stunned by his conclusion, Oskar asks Freud's colleague Dr. Max Liebermann, who has collaborated with him before on odd investigations (see Vienna Secrets), to provide psychoanalysis to the case. Other women die in the same way as Max believes the insane murderer comes when he executes his lover at the pint of climax. With Vienna in panic as even the Emperor is upset with little progress at apprehending the fiend, Oskar and Max diligently work on finding a new type of killer; a sexual serial murderer is something the doctor has never heard of before.

The latest gaslight Vienna Liebermann mystery is a wonderful historical whodunit starring two friends who share a passion for justice and music, and a killer like none either the cop or the doc ever encountered before. Mindful of The Empty Mirror by J. Sydney Jones, fans of the series will enjoy Max's problems with paving the way with what he believes is new ground for psychology and police work.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent addition June 16, 2011
VIENNA TWILIGHT is a very satisfactory fifth addition to the series written by Frank Tallis. However, if you're unfamiliar with the series, my remark won't mean much, so here's a taste of the novels.

In the early 1900s in Vienna, Austria, Max Liebermann and Oskar Rheinhardt are friends with common and disparate ideas. They share a passion for music and practise regularly. Very early in the novels, I was entranced by their musical perceptions. We receive marvellous visions of Vienna: the architecture, current society and oh! the pastry! The friends have different attitudes about many issues--Max is a psychoanalyst and disciple of Sigmund Freud, and Oskar is a Detective Inspector with the Viennese police. As Oskar is presented with a baffling crime, he calls on Max for guidance. Throughout the series, this pattern repeats with intriguing variation. If this is your first exposure to Frank Tallis, start with A DEATH IN VIENNA--you don't want to corrupt any of the personal explorations with plot-spoilers. And, of course, you don't want to miss any of the pastry.

Frank Tallis is one of few authors whose stories I read the first time as though I had read them many times. I appreciate the skill required to make sure I don't lose my place in the story, forget the characters' identities, or feel on the butt end of inside jokes, especially to do so while keeping the story moving in unexpected and provocative ways. While the stories are not cosy, the characters are comfortable and familiar, and I am happy to yield control of my imagination to this author.

Lovers of crime fiction like the resolution of a mystery and the comfort of justice meted out, but in some way we are attracted, dare I say aroused, by crime?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Exciting and beautifully written
Published 3 months ago by Bibi
1.0 out of 5 stars There may be worse historical thrillers, but it's hard to imagine...
Not deeply researched novel about a disciple of Freud. Disappointing on all
fronts: superficial approach to psychoanalysis, a comic book portrayal of
period Vienna,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by criterion
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder in 1900 Vienna
Frank Tallis is like an addictive potion--once you start reading, you're hooked. The escapdes of Detective Reinhardt and Dr. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Arnold M. Colon
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine installment...
...of a series as rich as the pastries of the Viennese coffee houses the main characters like to frequent. Recommended.
Published 10 months ago by Gregory Wolfson
5.0 out of 5 stars A mystery that diverges with culture, science and charm
Vienna Twilight has all the elements that captivates interest with fascinating characters who utilize Freudian Analyses to apprehend diabolically evil criminals .
Published 12 months ago by Knobby Walsh
4.0 out of 5 stars Predictable but well executed...
Good read, and if you took highschool Deutsch it will make you think back on what you learned in those days.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and informative
I find these mystery books extremely enjoyable. There is always a psychoanalytic mystery a detective mystery and a mystery of the emotions and passions between human beings. Read more
Published on February 23, 2013 by danica21
3.0 out of 5 stars Music and pastries, friendship and romance
For the fourth time, I returned to Mr. Tallis's Vienna for the thrilling analyses of music, the tastiness of the pastries (joyous to a cook's heart); for the solid friendship of... Read more
Published on February 12, 2013 by RuthJ
5.0 out of 5 stars A great series of crime novels from Vienna in the first decade of the...
This is my fourth Frank Tallis novel in the series which takes place during the first decade of the 20th century in Vienna, about Max Liebermann, the psychoanalyst, and Oskar... Read more
Published on February 3, 2013 by D. L. H. APC
2.0 out of 5 stars ho hum
let's see ~ down-on-her-luck self-prostituting girl who is murdered! a forensic specialist, a psychologist... what more fun could we have? been there, done that. No, thanks.
Published on December 13, 2012 by KSawrey
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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.

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