Friday, September 6, 2013

Lay Death at Her Door by Elizabeth Buhmann

I read an interview the other night, by the author, Elizabeth Buhmann, where she points out that there are many supposed criminals who are exonerated after spending years in jail, when brand new forensic evidence is discovered with modern technology. The obvious conclusion is that the eye-witnesses who put them behind bars must have been mistaken; the idea that they could have lied is pathetic and horrible and yet, it makes you curious. With that as the framework, the author has constructed a hell of a mystery.

Summary: Twenty years ago, Kate Cranbrook's eyewitness testimony sent the wrong man to prison for rape and murder. When new evidence exonerates him, Kate says that in the darkness and confusion, she must have mistaken her attacker's identity. She is lying. Kate would like nothing better than to turn her back on the past, but she is trapped in a stand-off with the real killer. When a body turns up on her doorstep, she resorts to desperate measures to free herself once and for all from a secret that is ruining her life.

My thoughts: This hugely unpredictable book left me at a loss for words. Picture me shaking my head in an unlikely combination of disgust and awe. The heroine, if you could even call her that, is a severely prejudiced compulsive liar with no redeeming qualities and an obvious inferiority complex: difficult to care for and excruciatingly true to life. 

The story took its own sweet time to kick off and during that time, I couldn't relate to Kate, Pop, Tony or any of the other characters. It was only after almost half the book that I really started wondering about the truth, about what could really have happened, whether Kate knew the actual murderer, why she lied. When the last fifty pages were left, the mystery that was brewing slowly but steadily up to that point had begun bubbling with frenzy, quite ready to end in a fancy display of sparkly firecrackers: when I thought, the book was going to let me down. What could possibly go down in fifty pages that would make it all better!? The ending had to be a disappointment. BUT I was wrong. The climax was so... climactic. Deliciously surprisingly, wonderfully unceremonious and the ONLY reason I considered, if grudgingly, the possibility that I liked the book, after all. I loved how neatly the pieces of the puzzle fit together. 

I couldn't stop thinking about the book, long after I was done reading; wondering about truth, innocence and mistakes, about how easy it is to be selfish, how no matter what people say, there is a big difference between good and bad, how you write your own destiny, about justice and the law and racism and for once, a female 'antagonist'.

I don't recall being in a loathe/love situation before. With Lay Death at Her Door, I'm going to go with LOVE! But it was a close call. While I admire how the author somehow managed to wholly engross me in the story of such a horrible person, I'm not sure if I can sit patiently through another such read. One thing, however, is for sure, like it or not, Lay Death at Her Door by Elizabeth Buhmann is a murder mystery like no other.

This counts as another R.I.P Challenge read.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

7 comments:

Elizabeth Buhmann said...

Priya, thank you for featuring and reviewing my book on your wonderful blog! I really appreciate it. EB

aliasgarmukhtiar mukhtiar said...

Nice read

Priya said...

Elizabeth, it was great to feature the book on my blog. Thanks for such a unique read!

Lynn said...

Such a contradiction with the love/loathe - I really can't decide if I could get through this if I dislike the main character as much as you did. A quandry.
Lynn :D

Priya said...

Lynn - That's the thing; it's a pretty good read if you have it. I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to get it.

samantha.1020 said...

I'm so intrigued after reading your thoughts on this book! I'm definitely going to have to check it out for myself :)

Priya said...

samantha.1020 - I'm curious to know what you think of it, if you do read it! People seem to love this book, that's what the Goodreads reviews show anyway! Do read it. Glad you stopped by.

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