“I don’t want any more of your facts!”
“Maybe they’ll seem more interesting after you’ve had a dose of poison in your boiled rice.”
All his friends agree that Charlie Horst is a lucky man. His new bride Bedelia is the perfect wife, and no one can figure out how shy Charlie managed to win her heart, least of all Charlie himself.
Once the dust settles from their whirlwind courtship, however, Charlie can’t help wondering why his wife is so reluctant to talk about her past. Isn’t Bedelia just a little too good to be true? A sudden snowstorm may reveal the truth, or bury it forever.
Continue reading “Bedelia (1945) by Vera Caspary”
“A detective, like a doctor, should not operate on members of his own family.”
A young wife suspects her houseguest of being a Nazi spy…The lifelong rivalry between two cousins leads to murder, but which woman is guilty?…When death strikes a famous nightclub, the detective’s marriage may become the final casualty…And a woman fights for her life, knowing that the would-be killer is her own former husband. These are the stories through which Vera Caspary’s sophisticated suspense explores questions of gender, social class, and politics. Continue reading “The Murder in the Stork Club (2009) by Vera Caspary”
“To solve the puzzle of her death, you must first resolve the mystery of Laura’s life. This is no simple task. She had no secret fortune, no hidden rubies. But I warn you, McPherson, the activities of crooks and racketeers will seem simple in comparison with the motives of a modern woman.”
Laura Hunt was smart, beautiful, and successful. It’s easy to see how Mark McPherson fell in love with her. There’s only one obstacle to their relationship. Laura is dead, and Mark is the detective assigned to investigate her murder.
At least, that’s the summary of Laura that’s usually put forth, influenced by the excellent 1944 film adaptation. But that’s not Vera Caspary’s Laura, it’s Waldo Lydecker’s. The victim’s best friend Waldo, “the heavyweight Noël Coward,” is only one of the narrators of the novel. We also hear from Mark and Laura herself. Each character adds a slightly different perspective. Initially we accept Waldo as an authoritative narrator, believing him honest because he is willing to be cruel. By the time his narrative resumes at the end of the story, we begin to see how sadly mistaken he has been, about Laura and about himself.
Continue reading “Laura (1943) by Vera Caspary”