Monday, February 17, 2020

Reprise Review: Lay Death at Her Door by Elizabeth Buhmann

Genre: Mystery/Psychological Thriller


“Twenty years ago, Kate Cranbrook’s eyewitness testimony sent the wrong man to prison for rape and murder. When new evidence exonerates him, Kate says that in the darkness and confusion, she must have mistaken her attacker’s identity.

She is lying.

Kate would like nothing better than to turn her back on the past, but she is trapped in a stand-off with the real killer. When a body turns up on her doorstep, she resorts to desperate measures to free herself once and for all from a secret that is ruining her life.”


“Elizabeth Buhmann is originally from Virginia, where her first novel is set, and like her main character, she lived several years abroad while growing up. She graduated magna cum laude from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. For twenty years, she worked for the Texas Attorney General as a researcher and writer on criminal justice and crime victim issues. Elizabeth now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, dog, and two chickens. She is an avid gardener, loves murder mysteries, and has a black sash in Tai Chi.”


In 1986, a man was murdered. I was beaten and raped. The ensuing trial dominated local headlines until my eyewitness testimony sent a man named Jules Jefferson to prison for life.

I lied.

You what? Oh, my.

Common wisdom says an author should grab the reader from the first few words, which is correct (or at least a good idea if you don’t want to lose too many readers). But that same advice says the way you do that is with action or conflict of some kind. I’m not sure these first words fit any of the most touted techniques for grabbing a reader’s attention, but they sure did mine.

From those first words we slowly learn what happens when Jefferson, convicted based on the narrator Kate’s testimony, is exonerated based on DNA evidence as she tells her side of the story. I’m hesitant to go into any kind of detail for fear of a spoiler other than to say that despite knowing from the outset that Kate knew she lied (and therefore must have some clue what the truth is) that each new revelation changed my perception of where the story was going, right up to the very end. A well written, unpredictable story. You’ll love it.

Buy now from:    Amazon US        Amazon UK


A small amount of adult language.

Added for Reprise Review: Lay Death at Her Door by Elizabeth Buhmann was a nominee in the Mystery category for B&P 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran June 18, 2013.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 95-100,000 words

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