PaperBackSwap Blog

Mystery Monday – The Bride Wore Black

The Bride Wore Black by Cornell Woolrich

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)


I had to push myself to pick up a mystery from the 1920s, The Red House Mystery, a 1922 mystery by A. A. Milne. After about four pages, I was reminded why I don’t like mysteries from the 1920s. The coziness started to smother me. To get my wind back, I did fifteen pushups, three chin-ups, ran in place five minutes and then chucked The Red House Mystery as far as I could. Like a shot put.


And so – panting – I turned to the classic of the suspense mystery genre The Bride Wore Black. Yee-haw! A raving beauty shoves a guy off a high-rise ledge, blasts another guy to death, and suffocates yet another guy inside a closet. Coolest of all, dressed as Diana the Hunting Goddess, she zings an arrow into a guy’s chest.  To summarize the plot would do a disservice to both Woolrich the writer and prospective readers. Suffice to say, Woolrich weaves noir magic in unemotional prose as he builds suspense to heart-stopping points, while still developing character and plot. The ending is a rocker.


Just read this exciting and well-crafted story! Don’t mind that the grotesque coincidences  because it’s not like real life is free of them. Ditto for the sometimes overwrought relentless prose. After all, it comes out of the venerable pulp tradition. And Woolrich is considered a founder of noir, up there with Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply