“After all, I killed only once every forty years. I had time to die, before the urge returned.”
Saturday afternoon in October, uncertain weather, neither hot enough to play outdoors, nor so cold as to want to take refuge inside, that weather that makes you go around dressed like a fool with snow boots and a tank top, so to speak.
I was about 11 years old; I was bored because I had already finished the new horror book in the series, I was crazy about; my father came to me and handed me a “grown-up” novel << Read this, you’ll like it >>.
If there is a person I trust in everything (especially when it comes to reading) it is my father, so I took this book, and without even asking him what it was about, I sat on the floor with my back against the radiator (habit that I still have today …) and I started it.
The novel begins in 1950 with the protagonist, Bonita Faye, who fries the chicken for a Sunday lunch when Harmon, the most beautiful policeman in Oklahoma, knocks at her door and announces that Billy Roy is dead, he was shot.
We soon learn that Billy Roy was the hateful, violent, husband of Bonita Faye and that he lived on blackmail, poker with rigged decks and that just a few days before he had proposed to his wife to prostitute herself.
Who killed Billy Roy?
Everyone wanted him dead!
So the sheriff identifies the killer in a little fool who died in an accident just a few hours after the murder, but the reader and Bonita Faye know very well that things did not go that way, also the nice neighbour, Patsy, knows the truth and Harmon, the policeman, probably knows it, too. But Patsy would never betray a friend and Harmon could never blame the woman he loves.
I immediately understood why my father had recommended that novel: the day was no longer tedious! And it wasn’t the next one, nor the one after. In less than a week I found myself finishing “Bonita Faye” (in Italy the title was “Little Murders”) and feeling nostalgic for the protagonist, as if she was one of the family.
I followed her to Paris where she settled with her husband’s life assurance money, and where in the lobby of a hotel she met many former partisans and also an awful ex-Nazi upsetting her friends, where she concluded that there is only one way to get rid of certain people: kill them!
Everything goes effortlessly, but then Harmon (who, at the time, I figured out as Leonardo Di Caprio) gets seriously injured in the war and Bonita Faye returns to the States to stay by his side, they get married, and she becomes a decent lady, while he is a respected agent of the FBI, and just the FBI decides to investigate all these strange “little murders”, putting Bonita Faye in a very bad situation.
“It was just a little murder. He wasn’t even an important man and then it happened a long time ago … I just can’t comprehend why they got so nervous. If someone was to be upset, that was me. Essentially, he was my husband. “
I can’t tell you anything else because even if the novel is now fully out of production and you could only find it in some flea market or in the houses of those bookaholics like me, I hope you can read it and enjoy the incredible ending.
But above all, I hope that you will get to know Bonita Faye, the beautiful normal woman with her normal desires, that will make you a co-conspirator of her little murders, coming to love her so much that, when you stop reading, you would like to take her out of the book and really get to know her!
I don’t remember if I ever thanked my father for introducing me to Bonita Faye,otherwise I’ll do thatnow, because after so many years this is still one of the most fun, shiny and at the same time full of suspense books I’ve ever read.
And for this reason, from time to time, sitting on the ground with my back on the radiator, in the sleepy Saturday afternoons of October, I read a few lines, a few pages … and for a while I come back a child again.