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.
This book got rave reviews before I hunted it down and read it. It comes up with a story of a young girl who supposedly treated by Sigmund Freud in Vienna. The review I read made it sound fascinating, but I am sorry to say that it was quite a let-down. Nothing exciting at all. I read it over a year ago and I barely remember the book. That is my way of know if a book is good -- whether I remember the story over time.
The story does describe an interesting time and place. I haven't read much about old Vienna and that was good. But the mystery and detective story were not engaging.
Good luck with the read. It could be to other people's liking.
The author's writing kept me reading, creating a fascination with the unusual characters and turn of events. The novel takes place in 1910, in Vienna, where the murder of a young girl captures the hearts and minds of a police detective and his wife.
I have a fondness for novels set at the turn of the turn of the 20th century that feature new police technologies, like the study of fingerprints. (Caleb Carr's "The Alienist" is a good example.
I expected Jody Shields "The Fig Eater" to be of this genre. The novel, set in early 20th century Vienna, begins with a mysterious murder of a young woman and the ensuing police investigation. However, while the mystery remains a primary thread throughout the book, the focus quickly shifts from the police investigation to the relationship between the chief inspector and his wife. The wife becomes interested in solving the case without her husband's knowledge, and their parallel investigations put a strain on their marriage. This dynamic becomes the central drama in the novel.
Shields writes well. However, I had not set out to read a novel about a marriage, and found it uninteresting. (Perhaps if I had been in search of such a novel I would have enjoyed it more.) Further, the wife is obsessed with superstition, the paranormal, and the like. This irritated me to no end. I felt I'd been the victim of a bait-and-switch, in which I'd been promised lots of material about the development of new technologies at the beginning of the 20th century and had instead been given seemingly endless prose about werewolves. I can't recommend this book, despite the obvious care in research taken by the author.
I read this book for our book club, and found it somewhat confusing and difficult to understand all of the inferences between the husband and his wife. Many deviant subtlies, I defiantly see the "Fraud" in this book and I am not one of his fans. I would not recommend this book.
Not sure what it was about this book that made it so challenging for me to enjoy. Great time period, lots of details about dress, culture, food, even fascinating details about forensic techniques of the time. The characters, I think, are really hard to like. Maybe that's it. Mind you, they are rich, multi-dimensional, and definitely have lots of empathy and life written into them. I also could not get passed one of the main female character's name throughout the whole book, Wally lol... It was dreadful to me. I was relieved to be done, and underwhelmed by the conclusion. Murder mystery have never been my favorite genre, but I have started Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and am enjoying the lively style of writing so much more. Try it, maybe you'll like it.
Vienna, 1910. The hunt for a killerbegins in the darkness of a hot August night, when an 18 year old girl is found brutally murdered near the Imperial Palace....this book feels like it was written in the early part of the 20th century, though it was published in 2000
From the back cover....Vienna, 1910. The hunt for a killer begins in the darkness of a hot August night, when an eighteen-year-old girl named Dora (loosely insp;ired by Freud's famous patient) is found brutally murdered near the Imperial Palace...
Hailed as one of the most remarkable literary debuts of recent years, The Fig Eater is at once a page-turning tale of murder, sleuthing, and sexual secrets and a rich, glittering evocation of a city and a culture in fateful transition.
I'd heard this was a great book, and I did get pulled in to the story; however, I have to agree that it did fall apart at the end. What started out as a good period mystery, fell apart towards the end with a sudden leap into the paranormal that wasn't really explained. Probably wouldn't recommend.
From the cover . . . "Vienna, 1910. The hunt for a killer begins in the darkness of a hot August night, when an eighteen-year-old girl named Dora (loosely inspired by Freud's famous patient) is found brutally murdered near the Imperial Palace . . .
"Hailed as one of the most remarkable literary debuts of recent years, The Fig Eater is at once a page-turning tale of murder, sleuthing, and sexual secrets and a rich, glittering evocation of a city and a culture in fateful transition."