Saturday, 3 November 2012

Punish Me With Kisses

Title: Punish Me With Kisses

Author: William Bayer

Year of publication: 1980, Severn House edition 1981

Inner cover blurb: '"Someone rushed from the poolhouse, then paused just in front.  Penny blinked and in that moment the figure disappeared into the shadows of the trees..."
   For Penny Berring that was also the moment that would change her life forever.  Obsessed by Suzie, her elder sister by three years, by Suzie's beauty and by her flamboyant sexuality, she had been an envious onlooker on her sister's insatiable love-life.  Now suddenly all that was over, for Suzie had gone - murdered, almost certainly by that dimly-seen figure at the pool side.
   But who had that been?  Who was the killer?  Jared Evans, dark-haired, sensitive, loved by Penny and by Suzie?  The dour gardener, Tucker, whose shears had been the instrument of death?  Or... someone else?
   As the novel draws us closer and closer to the truth, so it develops an increasingly profound insight into Penny's mind.  Fascinated, we watch her delve further into the mystery of her sister's death to find the murderer.  In doing so, she encounters a multitude of unsavoury scandals involving herself, her parents and her boyfriend.  Penny appears to crack under the strain, and seeks comfort from a sinister psychiatrist with a passion for cats.
   William Bayer's is an astonishing achievement - at one level dazzling entertainment, at another an illumination of the darker places of the soul.  A major success in the USA, this novel is stimulating and passionate.  Its descriptions of New York and its life are vivid and exciting; its conclusions eye-opening and convincing.'

Quick flick reveals: You had me at 'sinister psychiatrist with a passion for cats'.

Random paragraph: 'After Penny read this passage she felt filled with sadness and shame.  There were many pages like it, tales of orgies and self-debasements, scornful references to inadequate lovers, shrieks of discontent.  The diary upset her, but not because of sex.  It was the pathos of it, Suzie's misery, that filled with despair.'


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