Book Reviews – A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin

Ah, golddiggers. The people of the world who feel that all they have to do is marry a rich individual and then they’re settled for the rest of their lives. They have all the wealth without having to work. To me, golddiggers are like Marmite – you either like them or hate them!

I have encountered a few golddiggers in the world of literacy (and yes, I am talking about you Anastasia Steele!), but none have intrigued me more than Bud Corliss, the main character in A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin.

The story follows Bud, an ex-soldier who is determined to get everything he wants in life. He is in a relationship with a young woman with Dorothy Kingship, the daughter of a wealthy oil tycoon and they are discussing marriage. But there’s a difference- she wants to marry for love, he wants to marry to get his hands on her father’s money. When Dorothy unexpectantly falls pregnant, Bud’s plans fall into disarray. But despite this setback, he is determined to get what he wants and will do anything to get it… even murder.

There is an event in Bud’s life that follows his through his plans. As a soldier, he shot a Japanese sniper who wet himself out of cowardice. This event stayed with Bud as a moment of strength and power, something that he wants to experience again. But by the end of the novel, this event comes back to haunt him.

It was interesting to see the lengths Bud went to get his planned fortune. In a way, it is a reflection on what lengths modern golddiggers go to get what they want. They flirt, seduce, play their cards right until they secure their riches. All they see are dollar signs. Of course, I don’t think that many golddiggers go to the lengths that Bud goes to!

It’s also interesting to look at the characters of the Kingship sisters, Dorothy, Ellen and Marion. Bud works his charm on all three ladies and not all of them will survive. You can see the differences in personalities in all three ladies; Dorothy is the dreamer, refusing to see anything but her fantasies, Ellen is more smart and determined to get answers to everything and Marion is the most serious, but sad woman who doesn’t have a good relationship with her father. All three woman are profoundly changed by Bud and not all of it in a good way.

If you like a good mystery novel, give this book a go. You’ll like how the story progresses and what emerges from one man’s greed and how a family’s wealth ends in heartbreak. Or if you just like reading about crafty golddiggers, take a look! But if you do, please don’t try anything that Bud does in this story! You could end up paying for it, and I don’t mean with cash!

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