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Vienna Blood: A Max Liebermann Mystery Paperback – January 8, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
Book 2 of 6 in the Liebermann Papers Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. British clinical psychologist Tallis follows his superior debut, A Death in Vienna (2007), with this gripping sequel. Viennese Det. Insp. Oskar Rheinhardt, already faced with finding the person who butchered the emperor's favorite anaconda, comes under even more pressure from his superiors when several murders are committed in quick succession. The inspector enlists the assistance of insightful Freud disciple Max Liebermann, who quickly deduces that the killer is choosing his victims to correspond with the plot of Mozart's The Magic Flute. The book's strength lies in the relationship and interplay between the two detectives, whose friendship, which includes a shared love of music, may remind some of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin. The clever plotting and quality writing elevate this above most other historicals, even if the solution to the crimes comes as no great surprise. (Jan.)
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Praise for Mortal Mischief:
“An intriguing, impressive achievement — puts the psychological back into crime and written by a real expert.”
–Oliver James

“Smart detection and a mouthwatering view of Viennese cafe society . . . good prospects for the Liebermann series, of which this is book number one.”
–Literary Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Max Liebermann (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 485 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; First Edition edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812977769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812977769
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Vienna Blood: Volume Two of the Lieberman Papers" is set in the freezing winter of 1902. Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt is summoned to the zoo to investigate the slaying of a thirty-foot long anaconda named Hildegard. An unknown assailant knocked the keeper unconscious and sliced the snake into three segments with his saber. This bizarre crime soon fades into the background when Oskar and his assistant, Herr Haussmann, are called to the scene of a terrible atrocity. Four women have been slaughtered in a brothel and three were viciously mutilated. For some time now, Inspector Rheinhardt has involved his close friend, Dr. Maxim Liebermann, a practitioner of Freudian psychology, in his inquiries. Max's role is analogous to today's profiler; he has an uncanny gift for applying his knowledge of psychoanalysis to the workings of the criminal mind. More murders follow, and Oskar once again teams up with Max to resolve a troubling and complex case that has the police baffled.

Although he has a satisfying medical practice, Max is not without his personal problems. He is engaged to the lovely but shallow Clara Weiss, a woman who attracts him physically but bores him intellectually. Can a successful marriage be based on lust alone? He is also guilt-ridden by his secret interest in Amelia Lydgate, a British woman who is studying medicine at the Anatomical Institute. She is beautiful and brilliant, a perfect match for the intellectual Liebermann. As Oskar and Max proceed with their investigation into the aforementioned massacre, they ask Amelia to analyze microscopic fibers and blood, using the limited technology available at the time.

All of this occurs against the backdrop of a cosmopolitan and scenic city that harbors ugly secrets.
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Format: Paperback
If you read A DEATH IN VIENNA by Frank Tallis, you will be pleased to know that 1) VIENNA BLOOD is a sequel to that gripping work and 2) it is worth the wait. If you did not read A DEATH IN VIENNA --- Tallis's introduction to Dr. Max Liebermann and Detective Oskar Rheinhardt, set in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century --- I would recommend doing so before undertaking VIENNA BLOOD, given that the latter flows from the former, and majestically so. It will increase your appreciation of the new offering dramatically.

VIENNA BLOOD is set in 1902, and finds the personal and professional relationship between Liebermann and Rheinhardt intact. While A DEATH IN VIENNA focused on a lock-room murder, VIENNA BLOOD concerns Liebermann's investigation into a series of particularly brutal killings that are tangentially linked, though the victims appear to be unrelated. While Tallis's investigative pair possesses some minor similarities to Conan Doyle's archetypal Holmes and Watson, Liebermann and Rheinhardt are on much more equal footing intellectually. Indeed, it is through Rheinhardt's intervention that Liebermann's talents as a psychiatric expert are brought into the mix, even as there is a tacit and subtle, though friendly, one-upsmanship that informs their investigations.

However, it is not Liebermann's medical skills that provide the turning point in Rheinhardt's investigation. Rather, it is an event in his personal life, one that not only puts the team on the road toward solving the case but also begins the resolution of a problem of Liebermann's own creation.

As with A DEATH IN VIENNA, there are a number of suspects of equal possibility, yet the truly magnificent and riveting elements of VIENNA BLOOD dip and swirl around Vienna itself.
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Format: Paperback
Vienna Blood is the sequel to Death In Vienna. The beginning presents an intriguing case that is tossed at the reader like a scattered deck of cards and over a course of many pages, begins to form a well-played hand. Reminiscent of a Sherlock Holmes detective story, Vienna Blood is packed full of historical detail and delivers an intelligent and well-written mystery. Tallis draws on case comparisons to Jack the Ripper when tracking a serial killer. Also, other fascinating historical persons directly interact with main characters including Freud. This story is refreshingly cliché free, which can be a rare experience in crime stories.

Some readers may find the mystery rather slow-moving. In addition, a great many characters are presented and can be quite difficult to keep straight. This is further complicated by the references made to other fictional characters. Without the knowledge of the references, the `hint's' or expected conclusions may be lost on the reader. It takes some effort to understand which characters are important to remember and which ones are named for scenic purposes, or really weren't necessary to name in the first place because they end up being insignificant. To fully enjoy the story, the reader may have to pause to look up plays, songs, operas and poems. This was a difficult novel to rate because the research and writing is a 4 star quality, but I simply did not find the book enjoyable. I chalk this up to my personal taste and not due to the author's talent and therefore, have given it two ratings.
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