BKMT READING GUIDES

The Fig Eater: A Novel
by Jody Shields

Published: 2001-03-06
Paperback : 368 pages
3 members reading this now
3 clubs reading this now
0 members have read this book
When a young woman's body is discovered in the summer of 1910 Vienna, the Inspector's wife is certain the figs found in her stomach during the autopsy are the clue to the identity of the murderer--for there are no fresh figs in Vienna at this time of ...
No other editions available.
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to

Introduction

When a young woman's body is discovered in the summer of 1910 Vienna, the Inspector's wife is certain the figs found in her stomach during the autopsy are the clue to the identity of the murderer--for there are no fresh figs in Vienna at this time of year.

Editorial Review

Penzler Pick, May 2000: It is 1910 Vienna, and a woman's body has been found in the Volksgarten. She is Dora--Freud's famous patient. The Inspector (whose name we never learn) is painstakingly trying to put together the circumstances of her death with the help of the principles outlined in the 1901 book System der Kriminalistik, the first tome to attempt a psychological approach to understanding crime. The Inspector's wife, Erszébet, meanwhile, is drawn to this murder for reasons she doesn't understand and decides to investigate using her own methodology, derived from the Gypsy folklore she grew up with in Hungary.

What separates The Fig Eater from ordinary mystery fiction is the look it offers at detective work in the early 20th century, as the methods used moved from folklore and ignorance to the scientific. Photography of the era often resulted in the loss of fingers. Forensic methods so familiar to us now were unheard of, and the use of psychological profiling to capture killers was a young science unknown by most of the general populace.

Shields introduces the reader to Dora's family and acquaintances, giving depth to the characters only briefly discussed in Freud's case study of Dora. She takes liberties with the historical record (this is, after all, a novel) but creates a plausible scenario of what might have happened while depicting a brooding turn-of-the-century Vienna replete with gorgeous details of food, fashion, botany, and manners. The film rights have been optioned by Miramax, and if the author had her way, she says, it would star Liam Neeson and Judi Dench. --Otto Penzler

Excerpt

No Excerpt Currently Available

Discussion Questions

No discussion questions at this time.

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "A historical fiction/murder mystery novel that is not a crowd pleaser."by DesaRae J. (see profile) 01/30/09

We asked the 6 members who came to book club to discuss the Fig Eater to rate it on a scale of 1-10, 1 being absolutely horrible and 10 being absolutely wonderful. 3 of the 6 gave it a 0. I gave it the... (read more)

Rate this book
MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Now serving over 80,000 book clubs & ready to welcome yours. Join us and get the Top Book Club Picks of 2022 (so far).

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search


FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...