Tallis, Frank - 'Fatal Lies'
FATAL LIES by eminent psychiatrist Frank Tallis is the third in the series of period thrillers featuring psychiatrist Lieberman and police officer Rheinhardt.
Tallis' books are set in turn of the century Vienna, during the infancy of the new science of psychoanalysis. As a disciple of Freud, Lieberman uses some of his theories to help uncover the truth about the mysterious death of a young military school cadet, Zelenka. Although the post-mortem indicates a natural death, several series of wounds on Zelenka's body suggest something is seriously amiss at the military school.
Despite his superior's unwillingness, Rheinhardt feels morally compelled to find out the truth about Zelenka's death. Through chapters told from the perspective of a spectacularly unpleasant military school cadet, Wolf, it becomes clear that some very sinister nationalist beliefs are being encouraged by some of the school teachers. In the meantime, both Lieberman and Rheinhardt face distractions of an international nature; Lieberman has a mysterious new love, a Hungarian violinist, and Rheinhardt does his best to avoid being detailed to follow a suspicious foreigner.
As ever Frank Tallis seemingly effortlessly whips up a heady concoction, featuring the preoccupations of turn of the century bourgeois Vienna - the music, cafe society and intellectual life. Tallis has a remarkably light narrative touch, incorporating the history of the period and the theories of psychoanalysis into the flow of the story in a virtually seamless fashion. All in all, this book is an excellent read.
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Laura Root, England