April, 2008
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Dark History...

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"The Interpretation of Murder"
by Jed Rubenfeld

You must know that I'm a sucker for speculative historical fiction. Well this one's a corker. It's very well constructed and fleshed out with detail that really transports the reader to turn of the century New York. The story follows the actual one and only visit that Sigmund Freud made to NY in the year 1909. George Banwell, Dr Statham Younger, Nora Acton; the names he gives them alone seem to take you right there. There is, of course, a dark current running throughout; the book is, after all, a murder story. And among other things, JR gives us a good glimpse of Karl Jung which is, to say in the least, very unsettling.

What really attracts me to this work is its intricate construction and delicacy; it's very fine. It puts me in mind of taking a "mille-feuille" apart with my mouth, leaf by leaf, and in the process coming across some unexpected but ultimately complimentary and satisfying flavours.


by William Boyd

Bloody good spy story. I wouldn't call it a thriller; it's more like a grower which becomes a growler.

There's two stories here, which in the end become one story. The first is Ruth, the single mother and private English tutor's story, set in 1970s Oxford and told in the third person. She finds out that her mother Sally isn't the person she thought she was. In fact Sally isn't even her real name - it's Eva. Then there's the second story: the story of Eva Delectorskaya who in Russia, 1939, is recruited at her brother Kolia's funeral, by the British secret service. She embarks upon an adventure of espionage against the growing Nazi machine. As her career as a spy and a disinformer develops, the main objective of the British secret service emerges, which is to bring the USA into the war. The other thing which emerges is her dysfunctional love affair with Romer, the man who recruited her. With it all, William Boyd explores the two women, who are two worlds apart but share the same darkness; the same, in parts, oppressive lovelessness. And he explores an uneasy relationship between Mother and Daughter. And he brings all of this together for a tense, gripping finale.

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