A kiss before dying
The message in the book from Ira Levin is: don't trust the one whom you thought you could trust. In the book, Bud Corliss is a handsome, but unscrupulous young man, who thanks to his talent for plots and murder and his attractiveness for women, has the opportunity to become wealthy without exertion. All the girls he wants are women with a rich background - the three sisters Kingship: Dorothy, Ellen and Marion have a father who is the president of the big Kingship Copper Incorporation - and they trusted him blindly. When his plans fail, he decides to kill.
Ellen is going to find out who killed Dorothy (she thought a lot about her death, because she was convinced it was not suicide). On the way in the train, she wrote a letter to her boy friend: Bud Corliss, the man who killed Dorothy! He had transferred to Ellen's university to pick up Ellen! She wrote a letter to him, in which she explained why she went 'Sherlocking':
'She wore something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue - poor romantic Dorothy - and she carried her birth certificate with her to proof she was over eighteen. And you don't make a trip like that alone. Dorothy can only have gone with one person - the man who made her pregnant, the man she'd been going for a long time, the man she loved - the handsome blue-eyed blond of her fall English class. He got up to the roof somehow. I'm almost certain that's the way it was.' (page 98). You can read Dorothy was misleaded, but also Ellen herself. Because the man she wrote, was the killer himself!
Levin achieves a special effect by telling the story in different point of views. Sometimes from the murderer's point of view (Bud Corliss) and sometimes from the point of view of his victims (Dorothy, Ellen and Marion), or the people who are trying to prove his guilt (Gordon Gant and Leo Kingship). So the message is underlined better in the point of view of the last named persons, because in that situation you are confirmed of the opinion that Bud is the murderer who you can't trust. In the point of view of the murderer, you hope he will get married with one of the sisters, in that case he will be very rich in the future when he had adopted the enterprise of Mr. Kingship.
The murder appeared in a bad light by the author, because of his bad character. When you read this book, you have pity on the three sisters, because all of the three believe in the goodness and love of Bud, while he is a deceitful and sly man. You are confirmed that you must look out when you start a relationship.
I think the author is right and you have to look out for such people like Bud. They are very dangerous for the society, especially in situations like in the story of this book, with the danger of people's live. Naturally, the author has made up the story and in the common life it is very exceptional, that such things as in the story take place. I don't think the author has based the book on his experience. The story would more look like the reality when he should use the women with three different backgrounds and not three sisters as in the story, because in the reality three sisters would have known who their sisters boyfriend is. In the story, Ellen didn't know from Dorothy's boyfriend, because they had a quarrel with each other about something pointless. That was very convenient from the writer, he made it all a bit too perfectly.
Fortunately, Gordon Gant discovers Bud Corliss plans. Nevertheless, it is wrong to take the law into one's own hands. Mr. Gant had better go to the police and let them investigate what was going on here. It is comprehensible that Mr. Gant would find out who the killer was, but after he stole a metal box from Bud, he should better go to the police with the evidence. However, the message is clear: don't trust the one who thought you can trust. Some people are only thinking of money. Money makes the world go around. In the business world of today, nothing (even murder) will keep them from money.
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