Vienna, 1903. In St. Florian's military school, a rambling edifice set high in the hills of the City's famous woods, a young cadet is found dead - his body lacerated with razor wounds. Once again, Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt calls on his friend - and disciple of Freud - Doctor Max Liebermann, to help him with the investigation. In the closed society of the school, power is everything - and suspicion falls on an elite group of cadets, with a penchant for sadism and dangerous games. When it is discovered that the dead boy was a frequent guest of the deputy headmaster's attractive young wife - other motives for murder suggest themselves.A tangled web of relationships is uncovered, at the heart of which are St. Florian's dark secrets, which Liebermann, using new psychoanalytic tools such as dream interpretation and the ink-blot test, begins to probe. At the same time, a shocking revelation makes it impossible for Liebermann to pursue the object of his affections, the Englishwoman Miss Lydgate, and he finds himself romantically involved with the passionate and elemental Trezska Novak - a mysterious Hungarian concert violinist, gifted with uncannily accurate intuitions.
Again, all is not what it seems, and Liebermann is drawn into the perilous world of espionage - and must make choices, the outcome of which will threaten the entire stability of the Habsburg Empire. "Fatal Lies" - volume three of the "Liebermann Papers" - is about sex, the will to power, and deception.
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(197mm x 129mm x 26mm)
Arrow Books Ltd
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US Kirkus Review »
Layers of deceit complicate a murder probe at a Viennese military school.In the winter of 1902, police inspector Oskar Rheinhardt is called away from a night of ballroom dancing to investigate an unusual death at Saint Florian's, an exclusive boys' academy. The victim is mild-mannered student Thomas Zelenka, 15. Absent any obvious signs of violent death, the preliminary conclusion excludes foul play. But Rheinhardt - assisted again by his close friend, brilliant psychotherapist Max Liebermann (Vienna Blood, 2008, etc.) - is suspicious of strange scratches on the adolescent's chest and armpits. Neither headmaster Eichmann nor the teaching staff go out of their way to cooperate, and math teacher Herr Sommer, rumored to be Zelenka's confidant, suffers a fall that conveniently delays an interview. On the other hand, Frau Becker, wife of the assistant headmaster, eventually discloses her close relationship with the boy, and the author reveals that St. Florian's harbors a sadistic cult led by swaggering student Wolf. Rheinhardt must tread carefully in questioning Wolf, the nephew of a police commissioner already leery of the inspector's progressive methods. Meanwhile, a torrid affair with exotic Hungarian musician Trezska Novak brings Liebermann to the brink of personal destruction via a budding addiction to absinthe.Tallis' elegant prose aptly evokes the period. He explores his protagonists' depths and again offers a strong flavor of contemporary arts, science and social history. On balance, an absorbing historical novel first and a mystery second. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Frank Tallis
Frank Tallis is a writer and practising clinical psychologist. He has published seven non-fiction books (including Changing Minds: The History of Psychotherapy as an Answer to Human Suffering and Hidden Minds: A History of the Unconscious). He has also written two novels; Killing Time and Sensing Others, both published by Penguin. In 1999 he received a Writers' Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain and in 2000 he won the New London Writers' Award (London Arts Board). He lives and works in London.