Friday, January 17, 2020

Book Beginnings: In the Last Analysis

In the Last Analysis (Kate Fansler Mysteries #1), by Amanda Cross (first published 1964). These are the book's opening lines:
“I didn’t say I objected to Freud,” Kate said. “I said I objected to what Joyce called freudful errors — all those nonsensical conclusions leaped to by people with no reticence and less mind.” 
“If you are going to hold psychiatry responsible for sadistic parlor games, I see no point in continuing the discussion,” Emanuel answered. But they would continue the discussion nonetheless; it had gone on for years, and showed no signs of exhausting itself.

About the Book:
"When beautiful Janet Harrison asks English professor Kate Fansler to recommend a Manhattan psychoanalyst, Kate immediately sends the girl to her dear friend and former lover, Dr. Emanuel Bauer. Seven weeks later, the girl is stabbed to death on Emanuel's couch – with incriminating fingerprints on the murder weapon. To Kate, the idea of her brilliant friend killing anyone is preposterous, but proving it seems an impossible task. For Janet had no friends, no lover, no family. Why, then, should someone feel compelled to kill her? Kate's analytic techniques leave no stone unturned – not even the one under which a venomous killer once again lies coiled and ready to strike."

Initial Thoughts:

Honestly, my first thought was that the book's opening is not what you would call exciting. Rather dry, in fact.

And that's one of the main problems with the Kate Fansler mysteries – Kate is an academic and all of her friends and associates are academics and intellectuals. And they sound just like academics and intellectuals. The mysteries are entertaining, but the dialogue can definitely be a little off-putting. I've read several of the later books in the series, but somehow managed to miss out on the first one until now. I'm enjoying it so far, but it's not exactly thrill-a-minute stuff.

This first novel was published in 1964 and over the years it's been reissued in various paperback editions with lots of different cover art. The book I'm reading is a recent issue, with the above cover – but I think my favorite is this old Avon edition from back in the '60s (Kate would probably NOT be amused):

Happy Friday, everyone! And happy reading! And have a lovely weekend.

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


  1. The blurb makes the book sound pretty enticing, but, like you mentioned, the opening lines do seem dry. I am curious, now. Thanks for sharing.

  2. My initial thoughts were pretty much along the same lines as yours. I felt lost at first, and then when I figured it out, it just wasn't particularly exciting. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it, though!

    Here's my Friday post.

  3. I like when books can withstand the test of time. I have noticed when I try to read older books that I sometimes get bogged down in the dialogue.

    I'm sharing my Friday post here: Brooke Blogs

  4. I'm reading this series in order and have finished the first four. You are right -- they can be pretty academic! I think I like them because they are so wonky. Thanks for sharing the opening scene on Book Beginnings.


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