See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

I dug around in my ARC backlist for my eighth book for ARC August and remembered how excited I was to read See What I Have Done. I love a bit of American true crime and this book revolves around the 1892 Lizzie Borden murders and gives a fictionalised account from various perspectives. I thought it was particularly fascinating being based on an unsolved crime and the whole book had an air of the creepy unknown.

The story is written from four perspectives; Lizzie, youngest daughter of the Bordens and eventual prime suspect; Emma, her sister who comes home from a trip to a friend’s to find her parents murdered; Bridget, the Irish maid hired by the family and Benjamin, a local criminal hired by the girl’s uncle to ‘speak’ to their father about the way he treats his daughters. It’s deliberately ambiguous to the end who committed the crime, but also… it’s not. It’s cleverly written that way.

The toxic nature of the Borden’s family dynamic comes across really well; despite being 32 years old at the time of the crime Lizzie is portrayed almost like a spoilt teenager who manipulates everyone around her to her own ends. It’s interesting seeing three different perspectives on her, including a complete stranger who witnesses the events surrounding the murders-but not the killings themselves- from inside the house. I’m not sure if Benjamin was a real person but if not he’s a clever invention based on the facts and rumours to get us inside the house.

See What I Have Done is a smart, well researched venture in to fictionalised true crime that remains a whodunnit until the end.


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