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The Cornell Woolrich Omnibus: Rear Window and Other Stories / I Married a Dead Man / Waltz into Darkness

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  147 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Mystery aficionado Ellery Queen said of Cornell Woolrich that he can "distill more terror, more excitement, more downright nail-biting suspense out of even the most commonplace happenings than nearly all his competitors".Woolrich's work continues to fascinate readers all around the world, and this trilogy should become a staple in all noir collections. It contains two full ...more
Paperback, 628 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Penguin
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Library of America Wish List
28th out of 86 books — 24 voters
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133rd out of 183 books — 147 voters


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Shawn
And so, while this book was tempting, I also only read one story in this - I will at some later date go back and read some Woolrich novels, but right now is for short fiction.

From this, I read "Three O'Clock" - another Woolrich classic, a crackerjack suspense story in which an average watchmaker fellow sets a bomb in the basement of his suburban home to kill his wife and her secret lover - only for him to become, let us say... detained (the set-up does a wonderful job of starkly informing us of
...more
Nancy L.
Aug 26, 2008 Nancy L. rated it really liked it
I read this because of the novella, "I Married a Dead Man," the basis for one of my most favorite Stanwycks (and that's saying a lot). Woolrich will never been Chandler, but he did a nice job with one of the main reasons why I like the movie, which is instilling in the reader/viewer a strong sense of place. That's enough to make me forgive some truly corkscrew plotting. And there's a real sterility when the main character refers to her child, the supposed reason for her masquerade. The screenpla ...more
Aaron Curtiss
Nov 04, 2015 Aaron Curtiss rated it liked it
Some stories shone more brightly -- or darkly? -- than others. I had much higher expectations for Rear Window, which felt contrived and two-dimensional (screenwriter John Michael Hayes deserves a ton of credit for the movie adaptation). Waltz into Darkness stood out as a unique twist on the trope of the femme fatale and was definitely the most elaborated of the stories in this book, and in some ways the most believable. I Married a Dead Man was happily a shade darker than its movie version. In g ...more
Shayda
Aug 16, 2010 Shayda rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Korynn
Apr 21, 2010 Korynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
Wonderfully pulp and tremendously well plotted with great suspense and timing - the short stories are fantastic and the novella "I Married a Dead Man" is great fun, with great gouts of guilt, blackmail and murder. The last novel, "Waltz into Darkness" starts off with a great and familiar premise and runs with it all the way but only missteps in the last lap for a hammy ending. Despite that, definitely worth a read. Certainly all of the pieces are products of a different era of writing but if you ...more
Zepp
Jul 27, 2008 Zepp rated it liked it
Yes, they made some good french new wave stale noir movies out of his books, but this guy was a lousy writer. His style wan't so bad, but the heavy reliance on outlandish coincidence as a plot mover combined with the impossibly melodramatic situations (which I enjoyed, however) make for a difficult read. I really really wanted to like this stuff, and after this volume read a couple more novels, mining for dark genius. James Cain does this stuff so much better.
Charity
Jun 12, 2011 Charity rated it liked it
The two long pieces were far too predictable. Made the reading boring. It was well written, but I felt five steps ahead of Woolrich at all times. Did not work for me in pieces that are being classified as Noir. There was no intrigue or tension; there were no plot twists. The short stores were more effective and not as blah, but still they were lacking in the amped up tension they should of had.
Lee Anne
Oct 28, 2013 Lee Anne rated it really liked it
A handful of short stories and two novels from the man who wrote two Hitchcock classics, Rear Window (which is here) and The Trouble With Harry. It's such fun to read suspense, although I don't do it very often. Woolrich's noir style was straight up my alley. Great stuff.
Kelly
Apr 01, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it
Dark. Unmistakably. Poor guy. Certainly an over-dramatization of "true love", one in which some still believe. But it's so impractical! Poor boy. Well-written it is. But it's time for something more upbeat, more grounded.
Beverly
Feb 13, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-fiction
I read two of the stories: "Rear Window" and "Waltz Into Darkness" because I had seen the films based on these two stories. Enjoyed them very much.
Debra
Nov 13, 2011 Debra marked it as to-read
Stephen King recommended book in Chapter 2 of Berkley's 1983 paperback edition of Danse Macabre.
Rebecca
Jul 03, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I really liked these short stories.
Rear Window is a movie
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Cornell Woolrich is widely regarded as the twentieth century’s finest writer of pure suspense fiction. The author of numerous classic novels and short stories (many of which were turned into classic films) such as Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Waltz Into Darkness, and I Married a Dead Man, Woolrich began his career in the 1920s writing mainstream novels that won ...more
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“A slight concussion of the brain simplifies matters so beautifully.

("Three O'Clock")”
6 likes
“She had signed her own death-warrant. He kept telling himself over and over that he was not to blame, she had brought it on herself. He had never seen the man. He knew there was one. He had known for six weeks now. Little things had told him. One day he came home and there was a cigar-butt in an ashtray, still moist at one end, still warm at the other. There were gasoline-drippings on the asphalt in front of their house, and they didn't own a car. And it wouldn't be a delivery-vehicle, because the drippings showed it had stood there a long time, an hour or more. And once he had actually glimpsed it, just rounding the far corner as he got off the bus two blocks down the other way. A second-hand Ford. She was often very flustered when he came home, hardly seemed to know what she was doing or saying at all.

He pretended not to see any of these things; he was that type of man, Stapp, he didn't bring his hates or grudges out into the open where they had a chance to heal. He nursed them in the darkness of his mind. That's a dangerous kind of a man.

If he had been honest with himself, he would have had to admit that this mysterious afternoon caller was just the excuse he gave himself, that he'd daydreamed of getting rid of her long before there was any reason to, that there had been something in him for years past now urging Kill, kill, kill. Maybe ever since that time he'd been treated at the hospital for a concussion.

("Three O'Clock")”
3 likes
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