Book review: The Bride Wore Black

The Bride Wore Black

The Bride Wore Black,
by Cornell Woolrich
First published in 1940.
Read in this edition:
January 5, 2021
American Mystery Classics,
Penzler Publishers
Crime fiction / Noir fiction
288 pages

My tastes in literature are evolving, and right now I am really enjoying discovering old timers in mystery.
The Bride Wore Black had been on my Classics list for a while, and it turned out to be the latest Classic Spin.
I was planning to read it in July, but then I walked to the library, and the book called me from the shelf. I devoured it in a couple of days. It’s probably the very first time I tackle my classic spin so quickly!
Read on to know why.

Wow, another impressive classic noir mystery. I was totally blown away by the writing, especially the smart structure of the book: 5 parts, each with the name of a man.
Then in each part, a section on a mysterious woman; then on the man of that part, then a postmortem on him.
So men disappear under strange circumstances. An astute detective thinks there’s a link between these deaths, possibly through the presence of a mysterious woman. But the M.O. is different, and the woman looks different too.
Is she really their killer? But why? And who is she? Anyway, why would she target these men, who don’t seem to have anything in common?

The last part had awesome twists.
I also enjoyed the description of the different characters, their way of speaking, the different social milieus – great dialogs with the hotel cleaner, for instance!
Fabulous human psychology at play!

What? This is Woolrich’s first crime fiction? But this sounds so perfect already!
Not too many people remember his name nowadays (or his pen names William Irish and George Hopley), but Cornell Woolrich (1903-1968) wrote a lot of novels and was very popular in his days.

He wrote close to 30 novels and hundreds of short stories.
You may not be familiar with his name, but I am sure you have seen movies inspired by his novels and stories: The Bride Wore Black, by Truffaut maybe, but most certainly Rear Window, among many others.
I don’t know them, but this novel also inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies.

I definitely want to read more by him!

This edition has an excellent short introduction by Eddie Muller.
And a cool book cover!

VERDICT: Very impressive plot for this stunning classic noir mystery.

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Any other novels or stories by him you have read?

I checked out this print copy at my awesome public library.

16 thoughts on “Book review: The Bride Wore Black

  1. I am very glad that you enjoyed this book. I have been interested in reading this for some years, and your description and opinion pushes me in that direction.

    TracyK at Bitter Tea and Mystery


  2. Sounds like I have to read this one as well. I recently discovered his short noir stories and they are really good. I also like his way of writing, rather strict but every time right.


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