Funny? Yes. Author Rehak deftly and tastefully enlightens the sordidness of the murder with touches of humor so that this book is not just historical journalism, it is an entertainment.
It all boils down to the personality of Lizzie Borden, the totally inscrutable. What keeps the Borden murders alive when thousands of equally sensational, grisly murders are quickly forgotten by the public is the character of Lizzie herself. The most interesting parts of this book deal with Lizzie's psyche. Her personality is the lynch pin but she is such a creature of contradictions nobody can figure out what actually made her tick. She is such an enigma the argument as to her guilt or innocence will go on forever. (Rehak tells us some 1900 couples had filed for divorce during the trial because they couldn't agree on Lizzie).
The premeditated murders of Abby and Andrew Borden in August 1892 were orchestrated and choreographed with precision and although a lot of luck was involved, this was the work of a very level headed killer with an incredible amount of sheer nerve.
Some people found Lizzie aloof, sullen, even repellent. Even now she bears watching, like you'd watch a snake. Others, towards the end of her life, found her generous and kind hearted, a giver to charities and animal protection leagues and starving actors and who had special soft spot for children. But here was a woman who, before the murders, when annoyed by a stray cat, took it down in her cellar and chopped its head off. Who was caught shop-lifting several times even when she had received her inheritance. Who possibly had an incestuous love for her father, and when she overheard her father talking about his planning to give a piece of property to his wife Abby, not to Lizzie and her sister Emma, a jealous rage prompted her to run out and try to buy prussic acid. She couldn't get the acid, but there was that old hatchet in the barn back there, possibly the same one used to decapitate the cat... The Bordens were killed the next day.
Whether or not Lizzie was a lesbian is discussed at length in the book, and of course anything titillating like this is of interest. The evidence is quite strong that she had female lovers but like everything else about her there is no concrete proof. On the surface she remained a Victorian lady, deeply involved in her church and charities. But who knows what seething passions went on inside her bland exterior?
The book is enhanced with many illustrations, including grisly ones of Andrew and Abby's bodies, portraits of Lizzie herself, her lawyers, her houses, her possible female lovers. There is a great deal of information presented which is thrown in your lap and as the author does not take a stand on Lizzie's guilt but expects you to digest, assimilate and weave together the evidence, you have to come to your own conclusion.
Did she or didn't she? Everything hinges on her character and you'll see Lizzie here as you've never seen her before!