(Vienna Blood 3)
The third in the Dr Max Liebermann series; literature's first psychoanalytic detective
Vienna, 1903. In St. Florian's military school, a rambling edifice set high in the hills of the City's famous woods, a young cadet is found dead - his body lacerated with razor wounds. Once again, Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt calls on his friend - and disciple of Freud - Doctor Max Liebermann, to help him with the investigation.
In the closed society of the school, power is everything - and suspicion falls on an elite group of cadets, with a penchant for sadism and dangerous games. When it is discovered that the dead boy was a frequent guest of the deputy headmaster's attractive young wife - other motives for murder suggest themselves.
A tangled web of relationships is uncovered, at the heart of which are St. Florian's dark secrets, which Liebermann, using new psychoanalytic tools such as dream interpretation and the ink-blot test, begins to probe. At the same time, a shocking revelation makes it impossible for Liebermann to pursue the object of his affections, the Englishwoman Miss Lydgate, and he finds himself romantically involved with the passionate and elemental Trezska Novak - a mysterious Hungarian concert violinist, gifted with uncannily accurate intuitions. Again, all is not what it seems, and Liebermann is drawn into the perilous world of espionage - and must make choices, the outcome of which will threaten the entire stability of the Habsburg Empire.
Fatal Lies - volume three of the Liebermann Papers - is about sex, the will to power, and deception.
“A clever plot, jokes for those who are interested in the history of psychoanalysis, and a convincing portrait of the imperial city combine in Fatal Lies to provide lively and enjoyable reading.”
“Entertaining ... provides fascinating glimpses of the earliest use of Freudian theory in criminal investigations”
Seven, The Sunday Telegraph
“Don't read this on an empty stomach. Not, I hasten to add, for reasons of gore, but because of the Viennese cakes. Aficionados of classical music and architecture are also in for a treat: this, after all, is fin-de-siècle Vienna and Tallis has a supreme talent for bringing the city to life”
“... a sound tale, told with humour and elegance. An important plus, is Tallis's atmospheric evocation of a scintillating Vienna at the height of its artistic, intellectual and medical influence”
“Tallis has come up with a particularly ingenious method of murder, which leaves no trace and almost claims the lives of two more victims before the culprit is unmasked. His novels show the modern world coming into existence in one of Europe's great cities, and are all the more poignant for the knowledge that the first world war will soon cast its shadow over his deeply humane characters”
“An enjoyable and original series, of which this is the third volume ... Vivid and fascinating but with a sinister undercurrent ... Highly recommended.”
“The plot and subplots take in murder, espionage, sex, politics and the new psychoanalysis of Freud - all cleverly wrapped up in a pastiche of the stately written language of the time.”
“A fascinating portrait of one of the most vibrant yet sinister cities of fin-de-siecle Europe. On top of this, Tallis has laid a murder mystery of great intelligence”
“...his handling of the psychoanalysis and criminal pathology are fantastic . . . a romping tale”
Scotland on Sunday