Death and the Maiden
A Max Liebermann Mystery by Frank Tallis
Review: Viennese psychoanalyst Max Liebermann and his friend and collaborator Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt work together to investigate the death of a celebrated soprano opera singer in Death and the Maiden, the fifth mystery in this historical series by Frank Tallis.
The coroner initially rules that Isa Rosenkrantz accidentally took an overdose of laudanum, a sleeping aid. However, it is later determined that she had a broken rib and died from congestive asphyxia. Conceivably she could have collapsed and fractured her rib during her fall, but that scenario seems unlikely. Liebermann and Rheinhardt began an investigation that leads them through the jealousies and hatreds within the opera, from the director to the musicians. They also discover she had had quite a few romantic liaisons with older, richer and more prominent men, many of whom were married. Dr. Sigmund Freud, a friend of Liebermann's, explained that Fraulien Rosenkrantz's father died whe she was just eleven years old and she looked for a father figure in these men. Then, too, they learn that she recently been pregnant, but had aborted the child. Gustav Mahler, the opera's arrogant and domineering director, himself an recipient of threats and hate mail, suggests the two investigators look into the politicians such as the Mayor of Vienna on up to the cherished Emperor himself.
Death and the Maiden is a compelling combination of whodunit and opera, with components of the latter — written by Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven and others — incorporated into the plot. The fact that both lead investigators are musicians themselves — Max Liebermann is a pianist, Oskar Rheinhardt is a baritone singer — adds to the appeal and provides a calming balance to the gravity of the murder and its aftermath.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death and the Maiden.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of Death and the Maiden for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Random House (Trade Paperback), April 2011
ISBN-13: 9780812981001; ISBN-10: 0812981006
Location(s) referenced in Death and the Maiden: Vienna, Austria
— ♦ —
Death and the Maiden by Frank Tallis — A Max Liebermann Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 2012
List Price: $15.00