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A Kiss Before Dying (Pegasus Crime) [Kindle Edition]

Ira Levin , Otto Penzler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $4.96 (33%)


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Paperback $12.46  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD $22.19  
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Book Description

A modern classic, this novel set a new standard in the art of mystery and suspense in its exploration of the criminal mind

A Kiss Before Dying not only debuted the talent of best-selling novelist Ira Levin to rave reviews and an Edgar Award, it also set a new standard in the art of psychological suspense. 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, 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.

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Editorial Reviews


“Here is not merely an extraordinary first but an extraordinary suspense novel by the highest professional standards; and you have an evening of incomparable excitement ahead of you. Levin combines great talent for pure novel writing with strict whodunit tricks as dazzling as anything ever brought off by Ellery Queen or Agatha Christie.” —Anthony Boucher, The New York Times
“The book is a succession of quite legitimate surprises, the suspense is admirably sustained, the detail is thorough and convincing, and the writing is considerably above the level usually associated with fictional crime and passion. A pleasure to recommend.” —The New Yorker

About the Author

Acclaimed novelist and playwright Ira Levin (1929–2007) was a native New Yorker whose books include A Kiss Before Dying, Rosemary’s Baby, This Perfect Day, The Stepford Wives, The Boys from Brazil, Sliver, and Son of Rosemary. Levin was also the recipient of three Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Awards. Please visit Ira Levin on

Product Details

  • File Size: 470 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (May 10, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XXIHS2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Can't-Put-It-Down Book! July 27, 2011
By Ohioan
My mother bought a hardback copy of this book when it first came out in the late 1950s, and when I was in high school and looking for things to read, I found her copy in the attic and read it. I could not put it down: it was very suspenseful, very well-plotted, and I had No Idea! When I finished the book I was very impressed. About fifteen years later I decided for some reason or other that I wanted to read "A Kiss Before Dying" again, just to see if it was as good as I remembered it. Despite the fact that I now knew everything about the characters and plot, and had by this time seen the 1950s film based on the book (good flick, by the way), I still enjoyed the novel and was impressed with what Levin had accomplished.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taught, Tense, Satisfying Thriller July 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ira Levin's `A Kiss Before Dying' is a taught, suspenseful thriller about a self-absorbed sociopath intent on marrying into money. The novel is divided into three parts, each focusing on one of three heirs to the Kingship Copper fortune. The sociopath, who we meet on the first page, is beautifully drawn and impeccably believable as he plots and plans to marry youngest daughter, Dorothy Kingship, and then sees his hard work fall apart as things fly out of control. But you just can't keep a good sociopath down, and what won't work with one sister might work well enough with another.

The novel is written in Levin's signature detached prose, which works perfectly for this noir-influenced, Hitchcock-like story - we find ourselves inside the heads of multiple characters, providing motive and believability to a plotline that comes dangerously close to being a potboiler. There's plenty of suspense and tension, the characters are likable and identifiable, and the twist (yes, there's a twist) is actually surprising (at least for readers who haven't seen one of the film versions of the novel!). Best of all, everything comes together satisfactorily in the end - and endings are the most difficult for books like this one.

Highly recommended - the 1956 movie version (with Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward) isn't bad, either; it's just not as good as the book. It was an easy read on Kindle - if you like it, try Levin's other novels (`This Perfect Day,' `Rosemary's Baby,' `The Stepford Wives,' or `Boys from Brazil').
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Kindle Read June 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My first introduction to the author Ira Levin: A great 'can't put it down', 'stayed up until the wee hours' to finish it novel. I can't wait to read his other works! And of course, with my Kindle, I can go purchase a few of those books right now.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT! December 28, 2011
Ira Levin's books are always page turners. But I found that this book in particular spoke to my inner "girl detective"-- I even identified with Ellen! I love the 1950's tenor of the setting, dialogue and throughout all aspects of the novel. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quick mystery read without the blood and guts of many other books.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Clever Masterpiece of Mystery and Suspense. May 5, 2012
By Squeak
Format:Audio CD
I listened to this story as an audiobook, narrated by Hauro Hantman, so my review is based on that version.

This book was originally written in 1953 and I have really started taking a liking to these old mystery novels. It is not the same as a novel written today in where the setting is in the 1950s, but an actual novel written during that timeframe thinks nothing of mentioning smoking in college classrooms, the jukebox on the table at your favorite coffee shop, or the folded handkerchief that gentleman would offer ladies who were crying. You just gotta love those little details.

This story was clever masterpiece of mystery and suspense. Our young protagonist is a gentleman determined to make it big by marrying big. He tries to find young ladies who are daughters of wealthy families to date. He woos them carefully, so if the relationship doesn't work out, he can move on without alerting other young ladies that he is dating girls for their potential to make him rich. He thinks he has found the perfect girl in Dorothy.

All is going well until Dorothy turns up pregnant. Then he sees all of his carefully laid plans start to go down the drain. He can't just dump her, that wouldn't look good. He can't marry her because her father would disown her because of the unplanned pregnancy. Then he wouldn't get any money and they would have to live in poverty. But if she were to suffer an `accident' then he would be off the hook and could continue dating again.
Now it seems like he has gotten away with the perfect crime ... or has he? One of Dorothy's sisters gets involved and starts asking questions and he begins to feel threatened by her discoveries. If she finds out too much, he might go to jail and never get rich.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book January 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've loved Ira Levin's book Rosemary's Baby ever since I first read it probably 40 years ago. After I re-read it most recently, I decided to see what else he had written and I stumbled across A Kiss Before Dying. I'd heard of a couple of movies made of it in the past but never seen one and didn't know who had written it. I enjoyed the book alot, it's one of them that I probably will re-read occasionally over the years like I do Rosemary's Baby.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific! March 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story was written the year I was born so it really interested me. Also, I love the movie version with Robert Wagner. This book was way better than the movie! There is nothing more exciting than an evil sociopath. I loved it!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I enjoyed this was interesting as well surprising in it's twists & turns that I was not expecting. I also liked the time portrayed, mid 1900's.
Published 14 days ago by Patricia Lund
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful
Bud Corliss is ruthless. He is a money-hungry monster. I don't know how the three girls' father could handle losing two of his precious daughters. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Morua
5.0 out of 5 stars this is a great read.
When this was decided upon in my book club I was less than thrilled. I could not have been more wrong. I was hooked from start to finish.
Published 2 months ago by Q
4.0 out of 5 stars A Kiss Before Dying
A story by Ira Levin about a young man who has big drams and expect that they should all come true for him.
Published 2 months ago by John Bilodeau
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for a new favorite? You found it.
I found this on a list of "Must Read Books" from Real Simple. Typically, I'm fairly suspicious and cynical about books that get on lists like that - I figure the publisher... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Diversified Interest Girl
4.0 out of 5 stars like they used to write them & still do
A tightly-knit suspense story. It's been over 50 years since this book was published and it stands up well. It shows just how timeless the genre is.
Published 5 months ago by Frank Green
5.0 out of 5 stars A kiss before dyings
This was a recommendation from my Real Simple magazine so I thought, why not. Well I started reading it and couldn't put it down.
Published 7 months ago by CeeGee
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written story
Worth the time to read a good mystery for entertainment. The plot thickens as the murderer gets closer and closer to his goal of the all mighty dollar.
Published 7 months ago by Jojo
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
If you enjoy a good mystery, this will not disappoint. The book transports you to another time and also
captures your attention right from the start.
Published 8 months ago by Tanya L. Reynolds
4.0 out of 5 stars Levin is Incredible
If you like suspense Levin is for you! This book wasn't terrifying so much as made me paranoid of my boyfriend of the time. HAHA! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Liza Willett
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