Summary of “A Kiss Before Dying”
Ira Levin’s novel centers on themes of murder and revenge. Two lovers Bud and Dorothy live happy while they study at Stoddard College in Blue River. Dorothy later learns that she is pregnant and Bud realizes that the pregnancy comes at a time when he has not yet achieved his goals in life. On the other hand, Dorothy wants to be married to her lover and Bud is not comfortable with her suggestion. To make both ends meet, Bud has to get out of college and struggle to earn money for the family upkeep. He tells Dorothy to take some abortion pills and promise to marry Dorothy if the pills don’t work. Contrarily, the pills fail, and Bud has no option than to marry Dorothy. Bud suffers from stress and knows that he may not achieve better education, good job and will get poor. Therefore, he plans to kill his lover. The novel has three plots with part one surrounding the event that leads to the murder of Dorothy. The second part involves Bud and Ellen who is the Elder sister to Dorothy, and the last part is about Marion.
The novel begins with a desire of a young man who wants to get rich in his early life. Therefore, Bud plans to get married to a girl from a wealthy family. Thus, Bud befriends Dorothy whose wealthy father owns Kingship Copper Corporation. Bud continues to execute his marriage plans until the moment when Dorothy reveals to him her pregnancy condition. Bud knows that his mission is on the brink of failing and knows that he would not get money from Dorothy’s father if the pregnancy news reaches her family. Therefore, he plans to abort the baby. Bud brilliantly organizes on how to get the pills from a laboratory. He waits for someone to approach the lab doorway and appears to have arrived with the person he pretends to obtain the keys. The girl who arrives at the laboratory is not aware of Bud’s mission. Bud gets drugs from the laboratory and a gelatin capsule. He then wraps the content in an envelope and gets away.
Later on, Bud offers the drugs to Dorothy to abort the baby and assures her of marriage if the pills don’t work. Well, the pills fail to work, and Bud goes for a suicide plan. Bud lures Dorothy to translate a note written in Spanish. Unknowingly, Dorothy translates the note in a different paper. The suicide note indicates Dorothy apologetically informs her sister on an event that is about to happen. Bud sends the note to Dorothy’s sister before he kills her. Bud then assures Dorothy of their wedding and convinces Dorothy to go up the roof. While on top of the roof, he pushes her down. She never expected such action from her lover and believed that Bud loves her so much. Dorothy dies, and Bud feels satisfied since he has solved all his problems.
On a separate note, Ellen the elder sister to Dorothy does not believe that her sister committed suicide. Therefore, she begins to investigate the matter. Ellen suspects both Dwight Powell and Gordon Gant. She meets Dwight and uses a wrong name, and they go out. Dwight tells her a story and Ellen thinks that he is the murderer. Dwight then finds her real name and convinces her of his innocence. Later on, Bud kills Dwight and Ellen sees him with the body. Bud changes the story and claims that he was Dwight who killed Dorothy and he also wanted to kill her as well. Besides, he tells Ellen that Dwight died of his gun when Bud confronted him. Bud and Ellen drive away and stops by a restaurant. He also murders Ellen and goes silent for several months.
Bud is still obsessed with his mission of inheriting the riches of Kingship family. Bud later approaches Marion and gives her a ring and informs her that he has a book that he borrowed from Ellen. Both Marion and Bud fall in love and plan to get married. Contrarily, Gordon Gant suspects Bud and come across some pieces of evidence. However, such evidence cannot be used to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Bud is the murderer of the two sisters. Gordon contacts Leo Kingship and reveals proof on murder cases. The two convince Marion to leave Bud and succeed. Later on, Leo invites Bud in the factory, and they get accompanied by Gordon who changes his name to Dettweiler. The three go to 12 meters high stand and confront him with the evidence linking him to the murder cases. Bud denies the allegations. However, Bud realizes that it is too late and the two are determined to throw him down the catwalk. Thus, he confesses his actions. Unluckily, he slips down on the wet surface and falls into a vat of boiling copper and dies.
In a nutshell, the novel is entertaining and shows Bud as an intriguing character and a murderer who meets his match. Ira describes the scenes in details and makes the reader imagine the different episodes and situations in a timeless period. Therefore, I see the book suited for the current users who are young and obsessed with riches without hard work. In the end, we are responsible for every activity that well endeavors and should be ready for payback.