An Unexplained Death

The True Story of a Body at the Belvedere

“Gripping, immersive, and beautifully written, with an unsettling juxtaposition of criminality and mundanity. Brottman blends tragic and gruesome details with an intelligent and refined touch.” –Henry Bond, photographer, author, Lacan at the Scene

An obsessive investigation into a mysterious death at the Belvedere—a once-grand hotel—and a poignant, gripping meditation on suicide and voyeurism.

“The poster is new. I notice it right away, taped to a utility pole. Beneath the word Missing, printed in a bold, high-impact font, are two sepia-toned photographs of a man dressed in a bow tie and tux.”

Most people would keep walking. Maybe they’d pay a bit closer attention to the local news that evening. Mikita Brottman spent ten years sifting through the details of the missing man’s life and disappearance, and his purported suicide by jumping from the roof of her own apartment building, the Belvedere.

As Brottman delves into the murky circumstances surrounding Rey Rivera’s death—which begins to look more and more like a murder—she contemplates the nature of and motives behind suicide, and uncovers a haunting pattern of guests at the Belvedere, when it was still a historic hotel, taking their own lives on the premises. Finally, she fearlessly takes us to the edge of her own morbid curiosity and asks us to consider our own darker impulses and obsessions.

“Idiosyncratic…poignant…When Brottman writes, she’s a virtuoso: poised and sure-footed, confident and graceful, witty and relaxed.” —Baltimore Sun