Please Forgive Us, Richard Hauptmann

a collection of retro short stories + other fantastical observations

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
220 Pages
Reviewed on 01/28/2020
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Author Biography

Wendy Lewis is an Australian writer with a passion for crime. She has written twelve books delving into fascinating true cases of kidnapping, jail breaks and even fake suicide or ‘pseudocide’. She is the author of the best-selling 'See Australia and Die' and has appeared on TV and radio across the country. She also writes for stage and musical theater, notably her sold-out murder-mystery-with-a-twist 'The Devil’s Caress' (Sydney, 2018) and her wacky musical 'Defeating Roger Federer' (Sydney, 2020). Whether she is writing anthologies, stage plays or fiction, Ms Lewis’ writing displays her trademark wit, absurdist humor, stark language and dark edge. This is exactly the case with 'Please forgive us, Richard Hauptmann', her first collection of short stories which range from violent encounters to tender moments of loss.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite

Please Forgive Us, Richard Hauptmann is the title story in an eclectic collection from the pen of Wendy Lewis, a collection which opens with a tale prompted by her stay in Wellington, New Zealand in the late 1990s, combining a wry look at the city’s topography with a missing person investigation. The book contains 21 examples of the author’s broad talent, ranging from poetry, short theatrical scripts and stories which never fail to display her waspish wit. Some are inspired by historical characters like Ned Kelly or Elizabeth Nietzsche, some by harrowing events such as the murder of an entire family by their deranged son or the sad miscarriage of justice in 1930s New York around the kidnapping of the Lindbergh family’s child. Some of the tales are narrated in an abstract style, exploring difficult subjects, but the prose is always lucid and clear. The few poems that are included are moving, particularly those dedicated to her family - at the time of writing her parents were suffering from dementia. A great collection containing many gems and one which can be dipped into time and again.

Wendy Lewis is an experienced, capable author and the collection of her various writings contained in Please Forgive Us, Richard Hauptmann is a fine example of her undoubted talent. Much of the narrative feels like she is shooting from the hip, using an unaffected, natural style and providing some clear glimpses of her sometimes acerbic humor. I thoroughly enjoyed the book; my heart went out to her when reading the poems to her mother and father and I was appalled at the seemingly obvious injustice meted out to Richard Hauptmann. I loved Fire to Ashes in Five Acts which prompted me to take another look at the work of Jacques Brel. But my favorite was The Rocket, The Tea Towel, The Lover, which deals with some easily recognizable male traits from an experienced and possibly jaundiced eye. Fine work from Ms. Lewis - I do not hesitate to recommend this collection.