Cover image for An unexplained death : the true story of a body at the Belvedere / Mikita Brottman.
Title:
An unexplained death : the true story of a body at the Belvedere / Mikita Brottman.
ISBN:
9781250169143
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
269 pages : illustrations, maps, black and white photographs ; 22 cm
General Note:
Illustrations on endpapers.
Abstract:
“The poster is new. I notice it right away, taped to a utility pole. Beneath the word ‘Missing,’ printed in a bold, high-impact font, are two sepia-toned photographs of a man dressed in a bow tie and tux.” Most people would keep walking. Maybe they’d pay a bit closer attention to the local news that evening. Mikita Brottman spent ten years sifting through the details of the missing man’s life and disappearance, and his purported suicide by jumping from the roof of her own apartment building, the Belvedere. As Brottman delves into the murky circumstances surrounding Rey Rivera’s death―which begins to look more and more like a murder―she contemplates the nature of and motives behind suicide, and uncovers a haunting pattern of guests at the Belvedere, when it was still a historic hotel, taking their own lives on the premises. Finally, she fearlessly takes us to the edge of her own morbid curiosity and asks us to consider our own darker impulses and obsessions.
Personal Subject:
Holds:
Copies:

Available:*

Copy
Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
1
Searching...
363.13 BRO Book Adult General Collection
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

An Unexplained Death is an obsessive investigation into a mysterious death at the Belvedere--a once-grand hotel--and a poignant, gripping meditation on suicide and voyeurism

"The poster is new. I notice it right away, taped to a utility pole. Beneath the word 'Missing,' printed in a bold, high-impact font, are two sepia-toned photographs of a man dressed in a bow tie and tux."

Most people would keep walking. Maybe they'd pay a bit closer attention to the local news that evening. Mikita Brottman spent ten years sifting through the details of the missing man's life and disappearance, and his purported suicide by jumping from the roof of her own apartment building, the Belvedere.

As Brottman delves into the murky circumstances surrounding Rey Rivera's death--which begins to look more and more like a murder--she contemplates the nature of and motives behind suicide, and uncovers a haunting pattern of guests at the Belvedere, when it was still a historic hotel, taking their own lives on the premises. Finally, she fearlessly takes us to the edge of her own morbid curiosity and asks us to consider our own darker impulses and obsessions.


Author Notes

Mikita Brottman is an Oxford educated psychoanalyst and the author of several previous books, including The Great Grisby and The Maximum Security Book Club. A professor of humanities at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, she lives with her partner David Sterritt and their French bulldog in Baltimore's Belvedere.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The 2006 death of handsome newlywed Rey O. Rivera serves as the focal point of this mesmerizing true crime account. Brottman (The Great Grisby) never met Rivera, but she lives in the Belvedere, an apartment complex in Baltimore where his body was found, and her morbid curiosity results in a decade-long obsessive, informal investigation of his death. Rivera was missing for over a week before his body was discovered in a locked office, having fallen through a hole in the roof of the building's extension. According to the autopsy report, which ruled the death a suicide, Rivera had jumped off the roof of the main building, creating the hole on impact. As Brottman looks into the case, she learns that the people in Rivera's life don't believe he killed himself-he was about to start a family with his wife, made plans for the weekend just before disappearing, and showed no indication of depression. Her suspicions deepen when she learns the police report of his death has gone missing, as has the building's surveillance footage from the night of Rivera's death. In the end, Brottman hires a private investigator to aid in her quest for answers, and his conclusions end up being rather anticlimactic compared to the suspense of the author's investigation. In addition to the crime element, Brottman adds an alluring layer to the narrative by interrogating her own preoccupation with death and suicide. The result is a page-turning look at the darker impulses of the human psyche. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Brottman's (humanities, Maryland Inst. Coll. of Art; The Maximum Security Book Club) interesting ideas and thoughts form an inconsistent narrative that jumps from hotel history to unsolved mystery to memoir and back again. The author starts with her discovery of a missing-persons poster and from there becomes not obsessed (she makes this clear) but devoted to seeking of the truth about the disappearance of Rey Rivera, who was found dead on the property of the historic Belvedere Hotel. The police rule it a suicide, but Brottman keeps digging, uncovering a potential conspiracy involving corporate fraud, millionaires, and warnings. Throughout the investigation, she sprinkles in her own reservations about her ability to be socially invisible to others, and how the Belvedere has a long history of suicides, some questionable. VERDICT Both true crime and hotel history, this book would have benefitted from concentrating purely on either the disappearance of Rivera or the hotel. For fans of James Renner's True Crime Addict and Walter Kirn's Blood Will Out.-Ryan Claringbole, Wisconsin Dept. of Pub. Instruction, Madison © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.