A Death in Vienna

A Death in Vienna has a keen eye for the upper-crust pleasures of turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna; meticulous detail on psychoanalysis’ origins, including a cameo by cigar-chomping Sigmund Freud; and one corker of a mystery: In a room locked from the inside, cops find a psychic’s body, shot in the chest, no bullet or gun to be found. Pragmatic psychoanalyst Max Liebermann, who’s brought into the investigation, is a superb, though derivative, creation, equal parts Freud, Sherlock Holmes, and Patrick O’Brian’s Stephen Maturin. Despite some deliciously purple prose (”?the moribund sky, a canopy of charcoal and pepper clouds?”), Frank Tallis, a clinical psychologist best known for his love-is-a-mental-illness tome Love Sick, stuffs three more extraneous subplots into his final chapters, then races to tie everything into a too-tidy bow.