What do pears, pigeons and rancid mutton broth have to do with the infamous Lizzie Borden murder case of 1892? Sarah Schmidt's novelization of the event is an eerily compelling read for those with a taste for the macabre. See What I Have Done is populated by numerous unreliable narrators who together construct the events before and after the murders with an exquisitely dark and chilling affect. Squeamish readers beware.
— Nancy Scheemaker
On a sweltering August morning in 1892, the bodies of a local businessman and his wife were found in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. The hatchet murders of Andrew and Abby Borden eventually entered into the realm of legend and suspicion as to the perpetrator of the crime has always hung heavily upon Andrew Borden's youngest daughter, Lizzie. This is a fascinating, intelligent examination of the questions surrounding the grizzly murders told from the standpoints of four of the central players in the story.
— Alden Graves
Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
Or did she?
In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done
, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone's killed Father
. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell--of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.
As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.