The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Good books: Escape with this great book. The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

Photo: Interpretation of murder

Photo: Interpretation of murder

If you want to lose yourself in a book why not try this one? The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld was published in 2006 but as I don’t read the Literary Review and rarely glance at a newspaper, I missed this gem. My review comes with a warning. Don’t start this book if you haven’t hours to spend alone turning its pages. If you are a worker bee don’t open this book this during the working week unless you are severely addicted to delayed gratification.

My mum sent me a chunky parcel when she heard that I was ill. It was propped against the door on the morning that I returned to work.

I retreated into the kitchen and ripped open the bulky package. Inside was a small Rupert Bear (sold to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy) and this book. There was also a brief note from my Mum.
“Get well soon. I couldn’t put this book down.”

In a fever of excitement, I rushed up to The Rat Room where D was on a conference call. He hit the mute button and I reported my news. He looked flummoxed.
“A thriller about Rupert Bear? That’s good. Sorry, can’t stop.”
Within seconds he was back talking to India.


I left Rupert sitting on the kitchen mantelpiece and took the book to work. I opened it at lunchtime. This was a mistake because I could hardly bear to put it down after I’d swallowed the last mouthful of sweet blue cheese, tomatoes and rough oatcakes.

When I rang to thank my Mum that evening she explained why she had sent it to me.
“It’s exciting and surprising right to the very last page, and I don’t like thrillers. I bought it to read in hospital last year as it had such a great review in The Times.  But in hospital I hardly touched a book so I’ve only just finished it. ”

Oh that moment when you finish a good book. Surprise and true angst. For me it is always,
“Why didn’t I read it slowly and savour every word.”

This book was stunning. I didn’t earn much money at the beginning of last week. In fact I spent so much time holed up in Jalopy that I wondered if the locals thought that I might be a Private Detective posing as a decorator.

Basically the author weaves fact and fiction. Freud and Jung both travelled to New York in 1909. The timescale is slightly elastic. The book examines their falling out which didn’t happen until 1912. This book pits Freud and an American disciple to solve a major murder mystery.

In my early twenties I was a craft instructor in a psychiatric day centre for a few years. All staff had to undergo psychiatric support – counselling, therapy or analysis. The post was challenging so I chose the most intensive therapy available.

I undertook Jungian analysis. Every working day for five years. The last year was after I left the job as I realised that I hadn’t finished and needed the wisdom. This was a bit of a shock. Everyone likes to think that they are “normal” with knobs on.

Looking back, I was far too young to get the best out of the therapy but I’m sure that the psychoanalysis must have had a beneficial effect. I did privately study Jung’s and Freud’s works at the time. I was far more attracted to Jung’s ideas. This book redressed the balance a tiny bit but if I was to undertake analysis now I still would chose the Jungian route.

I finished The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld  last Wednesday and now Danny is in the grip of the book. He’s still involved in conference calls – under extreme duress.

News flash: my laptop is still in intensive care so have borrowed D’s machine for an hour.

  Leave a reply


  1. Domestic Executive

    I loved this book and can understand your excitement. There is nothing better when you read a book and can’t put it down.

    My latest recommendation is The Believers by Zoe Heller. It’s a cracker – brilliantly written and I couldn’t put it down!

  2. I saw a discussion about this book on Richard & Judy’s book club and thought it seemed very interesting. I love reading thrillers too and also detective books. Funny enough I have seen copies of it in really good condidion recently in charity shops and have wondered whether to buy one. Having read your comments I am definitely going to get a copy. x

  3. Love the Marmite analogy – I was not impressed at all by this book and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was about so obviously I didn’t find it that gripping.I can recommend When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson which I am now trying to wrest back from my daughter or Notes From an Exhibition by Patrick Gale – both of these were definitly page turners.

  4. Pamela

    I love One-Ten’s term marmite book! I fall somewhere in the middle on this one. I read it recently for the reading group I belong to. It took ages to get into and I only finished it at lunch time of the day of the meeting, sitting in the car between exams (I was invigilating not sitting the exams). I did like it in the end and it was interesting to hear how many different levels and themes my fellow readers found in it. I mostly skipped over the psychoanalysis stuff and enjoyed the social commentary. I am really enjoying my reading challenge this year – only reading books that are recommended by other people and have already read lots of books I would never have chosen for myself. I have just read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – you would like this one Fiona – and am totally engrossed in Wally Lamb’s I Know this Much Is True. I will probably have to skim through this one again by September as my reading group is taking a break over the summer. I have read 265 pages since Wednesday and I’m still only a quarter of the way through!

  5. One-Ten

    I think it may be a bit of a marmite book. I read it after being recommended it by a friend who thought it excellent; but another friend hated it… so she wasn’t sure if I would like it. Attracted by the premise I gave it a go – and really enjoyed it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,237,277 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder