The Fig Eater Author:Jody Shields "It is hot, unusually hot for the end of August. Someone has murdered a young woman. -- They find no objects, no obvious clues around her. -- They'll search the area again tomorrow during the day, when there is better light." — Vienna, 1910 -- Freud's Vienna, a city of horse-drawn carriages and masked balls, gaslit cafes and Bie... more »dermeier furniture -- hovers on the threshold between darkness and light, superstition and science. The murder of Dora, the haunted daughter of a respectable bourgeois family, is being investigated by the Inspector, newly schooled in rationalist criminology. Almost every aspect of the case remains hidden, untouchable. He recognizes uncertainty as part of solving the crime and knows that -- what is unspoken remains most powerful. He is trying to find the "error in the situation" -- that small link that will lead him to the truth.
His wife, Erszbet, a Hungarian steeped in intuition and the lore of Gypsy mysticism, becomes obsessed with the murder and launches her own parallel, secret investigation. She is sure that the figs found in Doras stomach are the clue to the identity of the murderer -- for there are no fresh figs in Vienna at this time of the year. With the help of a young British governess, she unmasks an entirely other face of the crime, and of the society that would prefer it to be repressed forever. In her brooding, atmospheric, and meticulously researched debut thriller, Jody Shields resurrects turn-of-the-century Vienna with luscious details about food, botany, and fashion, descriptions of perverse medical practices, and hints at sexual secrets. The Fig Eater is a great suspense puzzle in which each piece gathered challenges our perceptions and leads us to the novel's shocking climax."« less
Dora, a young woman (based on Sigmund Freud's famous patient), is found murdered in one of Vienna's parks. The inspector pursues the murderer using logic and observing the witnesses; his wife, together with her friend Wally, also embarks on solving the crime, but using opposite methods.
This is a great read, Vienna in 1910 really comes to life.
Note: If you've been to Vienna and have visited the famous cafes, don't read this on an empty stomach! The inspector's wife and her friend frequently meet in coffeehouses, ordering fabulous desserts.