©1953 Ira Levin (P)2011 AudioGO
A great murder mystery, which begins by telling you who done it then proceeds to confuse you as to just exactly who that is. In the final telling, the young women of this family do seem a little short on common sense or at least caution in their relationships, but still a good read.
Highly recommend this psychological thriller. Well developed characters. Don't want to ruin the story for anyone so just read/listen to it.
It is so difficult to provide an appropriate review of this book. I want to call it a mystery, but you know who the killer is the entire time. Seemingly, you know exactly what is going on at all times, so I'm not really sure why I want to insist that it is a mystery. And yet, about 1/3 of the way into the book there is a reveal that you don't see coming because you didn't even realize it hadn't come yet - which I'm sure makes no sense at all, but it is an accurate statement. Like a good magician, Levin distracts you over here on the left and when you look back over to your right you are amazed and thinking "Wait a minute - how did he do that?".
Pretty much everything Ira Levin put his hand to was a success. Novels, screenplays, plays, even lyrics. (No need to mention Son of Rosemary. Someone with his stellar track record can be forgiven one trainwreck.) As the introduction recorded here convincingly argues--he was a genius. In the end, though, he was long on chilling plot twists and high concepts and somewhat short on psychological depth. While that hardly matters in Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives, it begins to tear at the credibility of this, his first novel. I listened to it on two longish drives and it passed the time nicely. But about halfway through, I lost any real interest in the characters. The highly cinematic set pieces (the ending especially) are great fun, but didn't have any emotional resonance for me since the characters seemed like cut outs. Mauro Hantman does a great job with some tricky plot twists that depend upon keeping voices distinct but ambiguous. He has a great quality to his voice.
If you like suspense thrillers you must read this. It is my favourite Ira Levin book, beautifully structured with great language and characters.
I have never had such a shock after a 'reveal' and rarely been as captivated by a story.
The narration is great too. Highly recommended.
Considering it was written in 1954, it feels very modern. The character development is excellent, and you feel like it all makes sense. Very suspenseful. If you listen while driving, you might get a speeding ticket like me!
Too bad that the films that were made of this book were not good. It would be a great movie if you stick to the text!
No intro or put at the end of the book. It gives away way too much I have no idea why anyone thought this a good idea
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.
What do three college age daughters of a copper magnate and a handsome young man have in common? Could it have something to do with another handsome young man who doesn’t give up! And who is whom?
This is an intricately woven thriller! And no stone is left unturned.
I have to say, I read this book every free minute I could find, and then some!
I will be looking at other books by Ira Levin. He has become one of my favorite storytellers.
This was one of several of exceptional books by Ira Levin. Movie lovers will know his works – including this one A Kiss Before Dying as well as, Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives, etc. He is also very well known for his award winning play, Deathtrap. Levin’s best-known play is Deathtrap, which holds the record as the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway and brought Levin his second Edgar Award. In 1982, it was made into a film starring Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine.
Fun listening. A Kiss Before Dying is just under nine hours, narrated nicely by Mauro Hentman. Written in 1953, the story might be considered today to be YA, in that the setting is the college world and there are no explicit sex scenes. A handsome, alpha male finds himself trapped into marrying a fellow student because of an unplanned pregnancy. The story follows his devious mechinations through her and her siblings to get his hands on family fortunes. The environs of the 1950s is a treat to listen to, i.e., a housedress is mentioned, as are phone booths, the bad guy wears a fedora (and he’s in college), a girl wears white gloves and a hat with lace, considerable smoking, all common place at the time. Part of creating most of the college-age male characters includes military service, i.e., Japan during WWII. Keep in mind that A Kiss Before Dying was written in the early 1950s, and is not simply a modern-day who-done-it written to convey the 1950s.
Shortly after this book was written, it received many plaudits in addition to an Edgar Award for best break out mystery novel. This story is probably a must read for anyone interested in reading, or writing, the crime thriller.
This has been my favorite book so far. I started to hate that my commute ended!
Twists and turns kept me attentive. Wondering how the main character would handle certain situations.
My favorite character was Bud....
I rented the original movie last night. VERY disappointed. It didn't even follow the book. Sad me.
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