Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Miss Marple with a Hatchet

To commemorate the anniversary of a quite grisly crime from the late 19th century, I have devoted my Kirkus Reviews column this week to Miss Lizzie, a pretty much forgotten novel from 1989, written by Walter Satterthwait. As I explain:
The timing here is ideal. It was 119 years ago this week, on Aug. 4, 1892, that Lizzie Borden, a 32-year-old spinster living in Fall River, Mass., is said to have discovered her father’s bloody corpse sprawled across a settee in the sitting room of their family home. Shortly afterward, the resident maid and a neighbor found the body of Lizzie’s stepmother lying facedown in a guest room upstairs. Both decedents had evidently been struck fatally about the head with a hatchet. Nine days later, Lizzie was arrested for double murder, her supposed motive having been to prevent her father from making a new will that would’ve left most of his wealth to his second wife.
Satterthwait’s novel doesn’t re-create the Borden murders; instead, it employs the notorious Lizzie as an amateur sleuth in a 1921 coastal town mystery that also revolves around a hatchet murder.

You’ll find my Miss Lizzie post--the latest of my “rediscovered reads” series for Kirkus--right here.

READ MORE:Lizzie Borden,” by Russell Aiuto (TruTV).

1 comment:

Mike Ripley said...

Jeff, if you haven't read Walter Satterthwait's "Wilde West" then you really must. I've been raving about the book ever since Walter and I shared a UK publisher back in the 1990s. I always regarded him as one of the smartest, wittiest and most cosmopolitan of writers. In fact, he reminds me of me!