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Max Liebermann books in order: the complete series

Trying to find Frank Tallis’s Max Liebermann books in order? Look no further!

Set in 1900s Vienna, these historical crime novels follow Dr Max Liebermann, a young psychoanalyst studying under Sigmund Freud, as he uses his forensic eye and understanding of human behaviour to help Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt solve Vienna’s most mysterious and deadly cases.

The first three books have just been adapted for a brand new three-part drama on BBC Two, Vienna Blood, starring Matthew Beard and Juergen Maurer in the leading roles, so if you’ve never read one then now is the perfect time!

Here are the Max Liebermann books in order.

Frank Tallis’s Max Liebermann books in order:

Mortal Mischief by Frank Tallis

Mortal Mischief (2005)

Vienna, at the turn of the century. Philosophy, science and art are flourishing. Coffee shops are full of the latest cultural and political theories. The new field of psychoanalysis, formed in the wake of Freud, is just beginning to make itself heard. And a woman is dead.

Dr Max Liebermann is a young psychoanalyst, and friend to Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt. Rheinhardt, though hard-working, lacks Liebermann’s insights and forensic eye – and so Liebermann is called upon to help with police investigations surrounding the death of a beautiful young medium, in what seems at first to be supernatural circumstances.

While Liebermann attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery, he also must decide whether he is to follow his father’s advice and marry the beautiful but reserved Clara. But the personal and the professional cannot be wholly separated, and the darkness of Liebermann’s case threatens to swallow his entire life.

Vienna Blood by Frank Tallis

Vienna Blood (2006)

Vienna is in the grip of the worst winter for years. Amid the snow and ice, a killer embarks upon a bizarre campaign of murder. Vicious mutilation, a penchant for arcane symbols, and a seemingly random choice of victim are his most distinctive peculiarities. Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt summons a young disciple of Freud – his friend Dr Max Liebermann – to assist him with the case.

The investigation draws them into the sphere of Vienna’s secret societies – a murky underworld of German literary scholars, race theorists, and scientists inspired by the new English evolutionary theories. At first, the killer’s mind seems impenetrable – his behaviour and cryptic clues impervious to psychoanalytic interpretation; however, gradually, it becomes apparent that an extraordinary and shocking rationale underlies his actions…

Against this backdrop of mystery and terror, Liebermann struggles with his own demons. The treatment of a patient suffering from paranoia erotica and his own fascination with the enigmatic Englishwoman Amelia Lydgate raise doubts concerning the propriety of his imminent marriage. To resolve the dilemma, he must entertain the unthinkable – risking disgrace and accusations of cowardice.

Fatal Blood by Frank Tallis

Fatal Lies (2008)

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 – Dr 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 Empire.

Darkness Rising by Frank Tallis

Darkness Rising (2009)

Outside one of the city’s most splendid baroque churches, the decapitated body of a monk is found. Then, the remains of a municipal councillor are discovered in the grounds of another church – his head also ripped from his body. Both men were rabid anti-Semites, and suspicions fall on Vienna’s close-knit community of Hasidic Jews. In a city riven by racial tensions and extremism, the situation is potentially explosive.

Detective Inspector Rheinhardt turns to his trusted friend, the young psychoanalyst Dr Max Liebermann, for assistance. As the investigation progresses, Liebermann is drawn into the world of Jewish mysticism. Amid the atmosphere of threat and fear, Liebermann’s life is in crisis. Political forces conspire against him, and the object of his romantic desires, the unreachable Miss Lydgate, is becoming an unhealthy obsession…

Deadly Communion by Frank Tallis

Deadly Communion (2010)

A sexual predator is at large on the streets of Imperial Vienna. The killer is no ordinary ‘lust murderer’, but rather an entirely new phenomenon, his deviance revealing the darker preoccupations of the age before the First World War.

Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt appeals to his friend, psychoanalyst Dr Max Liebermann, for assistance. But to understand the killer’s behaviour, Liebermann must make a journey into uncharted regions of the human mind, tracking a monster whose modus operandi combines both exquisite precision and savage cruelty.

As the investigation continues, Liebermann and Rheinhardt find themselves drawn into the worlds of art and couture, worlds in which glamorous appearances mask the most sinister of secrets…

Death and the Maiden by Frank Tallis

Death and the Maiden (2011)

An operatic diva, Ida Rosenkrantz, is found dead in her luxurious villa. It appears that she has taken an overdose of morphine, but a broken rib, discovered during autopsy, suggests other and more sinister possibilities. Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt seeks the assistance of his young friend, the psychoanalyst Dr Max Liebermann, and they begin their inquiries at Vienna’s majestic opera house, where its director, Gustav Mahler, is struggling to maintain a pure artistic vision while threatened on all sides by pompous bureaucrats, vainglorious singers, and a hostile press.

When the demagogue Mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, becomes the prime suspect – with an election only months away – the Rosenkrantz case becomes politically explosive. The trail leads Rheinhardt and Liebermann, via a social climbing professor of psychiatry, to the Hofburg palace and the mysterious Lord Marshal’s office – a shadowy bureau that deals ruthlessly with enemies of the ageing Emperor Franz Josef.

As the investigation proceeds, the investigators are placed in great personal danger, as corruption is exposed at the very highest levels. Meanwhile, Liebermann pursues two private obsessions: a coded message in a piece of piano music, and the alluring Englishwoman, Miss Amelia Lydgate.

Mephisto Waltz by Frank Tallis

Mephisto Waltz (2018)

The body of a man is discovered in an abandoned piano factory on the outskirts of the city. He has been shot dead but his face has been horribly disfigured with acid, making identification impossible. In front of the body are three chairs positioned conspicuously in a straight line. Who were the former occupants? Had they sat in judgement and pronounced a sentence of death?

Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt calls on his good friend Doctor Max Liebermann to assist in an investigation that draws them both into the shadowy and sexually unconventional world of fringe political activism. It is a world populated by Bohemians, Utopian idealists, and anarchists, many of whom endorse acts of terror to achieve their revolutionary aims, and Liebermann must use his profound knowledge of psychology and science to prevent a coming catastrophe.

There you have it – Frank Tallis’s Max Liebermann books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…

Books like Frank Tallis’s Max Liebermann:


    Ardently awaiting another book in this series. I am about to read the last novel but alas the well runs dry after my next outing.

    Loved all the books and hope there are more to come- please.
    A shame the TV series took liberties with the story lines. All the relationships are different and the cliffhanger of the last series was not in keeping with Max’s character in the books.

    Loved Season One and most of Season Two. Unfortunately the last two episodes of Season Three were a disappointment: an almost trite denouement of what should have been a tangled case, and unsatisfying end to Max’s relationship with Ms Ludgate. Too bad.

    I’ve watched the 2 seasons of Vienna Blood and am now hooked. Reading the second book, hoping there are going to be more books and more TV seasons to enjoy for years to come! As a psychologist and a Jew, I very much appreciate the descriptions of psychological treatment and processes, as well as the historical context of the antisemitism encroaching onto the European society of the era. I love that neither books nor the TV show shy away from the difficult topics.

    Being the son of a psychoanalyst and zionist who was a direct pupil of Freud during the ’20s, I obviously, enjoyed Franck Tallis’s books to no end. My father’s recollections of his life in Vienna appear in a manner only glimpsed before. I am a jew and I understand presently why my father left Austria. My frustration is that there are no more stories of Libermann

    Have started reading after viewing the series, which doesn’t do justice to the novels. While the plots are not as complex as some others in this genre, the detail that Tallis includes augments the storyline and draws the reader ever on. The intricate part that music plays in the narrative is compelling and and adds a distinctive note (pun intended 😂) that is so intriguing that it inspired me to seek out various pieces to listen to. The Mephisto waltz, especially, is best appreciated when viewed being played. And, of course, Chopin’s nocturnes are always good to listen to.

    Saw Vienna Blood and was hooked. Now have read 4 Lieberman books, and about to buy two more. As a retired psychologist, I find the Freudian focus of the books totally fascinating!!

    Have purchased the 3 on DVD, enjoyed the PBS on tv and am looking for the the rest. Totally absorbing plots and characters are terrific. Thank you.

    Reading through the whole series. Introduced to Tallis by the tv series. All good reads and present a sobering background of the simmering racial hatred and social differences leading to World Wars and racial intolerance . Great reading.

    Enjoyed first three books on television. have now read a further three and am awaiting Mephisto Waltz – which I am sure is worth waiting for.

    I have read all the books. I hope there will be more to come of this series.

    I’ve not read the Tallis books, but after viewing the first PBS segment of Vienna Blood I’m hooked on the series. After I see the complete series I will read the books. I love Vienna and toured Austria half a dozen time, and will be trying to identify the different locations.

    Read that series long ago and loved it. Since I visited Vienna and other parts of Austria, I could picture myself alongside Rheinhardt & Libermann on their adventures through Vienna.

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