A Kiss Before Dying
A Kiss Before Dying – by Ira Levin, Otto Penzler (Goodreads Author) (Introduction)
A Kiss Before Dying not only debuted the talent of best-selling novelist Ira Levin to rave reviews, it also set a new standard in the art of mystery and suspense. Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing–not even murder–to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she’s pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures. But, then, he looks like the kind of guy who could get away with murder. Compellingly, step by determined step, the novel follows this young man in his execution of one plan he had neither dreamed nor foreseen. Nor does he foresee how inexorably he will be enmeshed in the consequences of his own extreme deed.
Levin graduated from the Horace Mann School and New York University, where he majored in philosophy and English.
After college, he wrote training films and scripts for television.
Levin’s first produced play was No Time for Sergeants (adapted from Mac Hyman’s novel), a comedy about a hillbilly drafted into the United States Air Force that launched the career of Andy Griffith. The play was turned into a movie in 1958, and co-starred Don Knotts, Griffith’s long-time co-star and friend. No Time for Sergeants is generally considered the precursor to Gomer Pyle, USMC.
Levin’s first novel, A Kiss Before Dying, was well received, earning him the 1954 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. A Kiss Before Dying was turned into a movie twice, first in 1956, and again in 1991.
Levin’s best known play is Deathtrap, which holds the record as the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway and brought Levin his second Edgar Award. In 1982, it was made into a film starring Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine.
Levin’s best known novel is Rosemary’s Baby, a horror story of modern day satanism and the occult, set in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It was made into a film starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes. Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance. Roman Polanski, who wrote and directed the film, was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
Other Levin novels were turned into movies, including The Boys from Brazil in 1978; The Stepford Wives in 1975 and again in 2004; and Sliver in 1993.
Stephen King has described Ira Levin as “the Swiss watchmaker of suspense novels, he makes what the rest of us do look like cheap watchmakers in drugstores.” Chuck Palahniuk, in , calls Levin’s writing “a smart, updated version of the kind of folksy legends that cultures have always used.”
Ira Levin died from a heart attack at his home in Manhattan, on 12 November 2007. He was seventy-eight at the time of his death. (less)
About the Author
Does anyone know whether there’s any symbolism in this book? I know for example that “a kiss” (title) is a symbol for love in general, but is there anything else?