This novel is a murder mystery set in New York City in 1909, where new skyscrapers overtake the height of the old and the people see the motor car as a positive step against the pollution of horses (all that dung everywhere makes for a smelly city). Out of the harbour fog steps Sigmund Freud on his first and only visit to New York accompanied by Carl Jung and Sándor Ferenczi. They are met on the docks by the pioneering American psychoanalyst Abraham Brill, responsible for translating Freud into English.
A rich girl is found murdered in an exclusive apartment complex, a second debutante is attacked but loses her voice and memory in the attack. Dr Stratham Younger, a keen follower of Freud, is called upon to help the victim recover her memory using techniques of psychoanalysis pioneered by Freud.
The author engages both Younger and Jung in Oedipal manoeuvres with the maestro. We see Jung making a village from pebbles and various debris on his hotel floor in an attempt to evoke his childhood.
The historical background is fascinating, including the construction of the Manhattan Bridge. It is also the first time I have read of someone (a minor character) being murdered by means of decompression sickness (the bends).
I found the ending too twisty and convoluted but it is an enjoyable read and a veritable page turner. I am not familiar enough with Freud, Jung and their acolytes to know if their representation here rings true to life.