An Unexplained Death: The True Story of a Body at the Belvedere

no title has been provided for this book

ISBN: 9781250169143


This is the true story of Rey Rivera, a man who suddenly goes missing. He's found after a week when a hole is discovered in the roof of the Belvedere hotel in Baltimore. Was it suicide? Murder? Some crazy conspiracy? Why does everyone tell her to "be careful" while she's investigating?

(Don't worry, I didn't give anything away!)

Most people would take a slight interest in this death. For the author, it becomes an obsession, taking up 10 years of her life.


I loved this book.

My love of true crime is no secret, but this book was more than that.

This was more about the mystery of death. She delves deep into the history of suicide, the history of deaths at the famed Belvedere hotel and the attention she lavishes on all things dark.

She's morbid. And I love it. When writing about her "moral perversions" she says, "I am not a gawker; I am a connoisseur."

When she's bored, she pops into court and sits in on criminal trials. I like this chick. A lot.

One more thing.

Not only does she go into detail about her investigation and obsession with this case, but she flits around, offering commentary on everything else having to do with things we don't want to talk about.

For example:

  • Did you know that 70% of the world's suicides are committed by ingesting pesticide?
  • Rats are very clean animals and carry the scent of sweet strawberries?
  • The typical note written by someone with schizophrenia features single spacing, narrow margins, all capital letters, small fonts and lists.

(I am a collector of fun and useless facts, so I LOOOOVE stuff like this.)


Sometimes I wondered if I was EVER going to find out what happened to Rey Rivera. And, there was a lot of jumping around. A lot of the complaints about this book revolve around all of this jumping. For me, though, it was more about the journey than the destination. (I have had NO attention span lately, so this book was perfect!)


Quotes from An Unexpected Death:

"For as long as I can remember, certain kinds of mysteries have enthralled me, especially those that contain an element of the uncanny--an odd coincidence; a mysterious stranger whose presence can't be explained; an element of missing time; a prophetic dream the night before. To me, these wonders are dropped stitches in the fabric of the universe, windows left uncovered for a moment, permitting us a quick glimpse into the unknowable."

"The second difficulty I have is that nobody will go on record. Everybody is afraid. Most of Rey's friends appear to believe the he was murdered by a group of people so wealthy and powerful that they can kill anyone with impunity, and will not hesitate to kill again. It is not just one or two people who believe this, but everybody I contact. Some are convinced of it; to others it is merely a suspicion; still, nobody seems to believe that Rey's death was a suicide."

"True stories about people who died or went missing mysteriously used to make me feel there was more to the world than I could ever know. What I loved about them was the way they seemed to slip back the skin of things, as in an autopsy, revealing the strange and terrifying disruptions lying just beneath the surface. Now, after more than ten years trying to find out what happened to Rey Rivera, I realize these stories come to our attention only because others care about these people, and want to find out what happened to them."



Lately, I've been captivated with stories of people that have disappeared (I think that shit is worse than murder). What sort of true crime stories do you feel drawn to?


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