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Rendezvous in Black

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  795 ratings  ·  62 reviews
On a mild midwestern night in the early 1940s, Johnny Marr leans against a drugstore wall. He's waiting for Dorothy, his fiancé, and tonight is the last night they'll be meeting here, for it's May 31st, and June 1st marks their wedding day. But she's late, and Johnny soon learns of a horrible accident; an accident involving a group of drunken men, a low-flying charter plan ...more
211 pages
Published March 16th 2004 by Modern Library (first published 1948)
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Dan Schwent
On the eve of his wedding, Johnny Marr's fiancee is killed in a freak accident by a liquor bottle hurled out of the window of a small plane. Johnny snaps and goes on a psychopathic killing spree, tracking down the passengers of the plane and killing the most important woman in each man's world. Can Inspector Cameron stop Johnny before it's too late?

Rendezvous in Black has a lot in common with my favorite Woolrich book, The Bride Wore Black. Johnny systematically hunts down each man, figures out
Cornell Woolrich came to my attention when Tom Piccirilli talked him up on his website, stating that Woolrich's take on noir is one of Piccirilli's favorites. Fast-forward about three years, move the scene to Classic Books, the Michigan Mecca for used books--and there I am, holding a copy of "Rendezvous in Black" with a big smile on my face.

Said smile remained throughout this entire read--which, happily, took place over a single afternoon that saw me with nothing to do. I devoured this wicked ta
Woolrich is one sick writer... or maybe not. But for sure this is truly one of most twisted novels ever. A young man (Johnny Marr!) is waiting for his wife, and what happens? Someone in a plane above throws over a liquour bottle and it hits and kills the poor girl. The moment it happens, Johnny Marr smashes his watch to keep that time forever. That image is so beautiful and goth like. So basically he gets a list of those who are on that flight and goes after the girlfriend, wife, or kid. Just to ...more
The structure of Rendezvous in Black was intriguing in that the character first presented to the reader as the protagonist, disappears into the ether after the introductory chapters, only to emerge later as the homicidal specter that haunts a series of interconnected short stories. They’re not separate stories per se, but feel self-contained even though linked by common strands. Each story, or rendezvous, details a new cycle of revenge, and with each one I found my sympathies bouncing back and f ...more
Antonius Block
On the surface, Rendezvous in Black might look like one of the coldest stories ever told. An ordinary young man meets an ordinary young woman every night outside of a drugstore window. One day he is a couple of minutes late, and by the time he arrives she has been horrendously killed. Completely devastated by the experience, the boy is unable to move on, waiting at the same place each night, eventually deciding to make ‘them’ feel what he feels. He finds a list of five passengers on a plane, men ...more
This is the first book I've read by Cornell Woolrich, it came out in 1948. At first his tone struck me as almost modest but what unfolds are revealing insights and the inescapable presense of passion, hate, death, longing, and avenging desperate violence, and pretty soon my impression of his writing tone was altered. He's no wimp afraid of writing a brutal scene and enchanting plot. It rollercoasts with great power and has a great deal of engaging humor especially when dealing with loosers, cops ...more
The saddest revenge story ever written? Johnny Marr, an almost anonymous young man in middle America (think Our Town), must find the man who killed his fiancée and make the killer suffer as he has suffered. But there are five possible killers, so they must all suffer. The plots that Johnny executes against them require near-omniscience on his part. Never mind that Johnny could have identified the actual killer much more easily--for better or for worse, Woolrich demands that you grant him absurdi ...more
It's been said that more film noir screenplays have been adapted from the works of Cornell Woolrich than any other crime novelist. Even films that are considered only quasi-noir, like Hitchcock's Rear Window, were directly inspired by Woolrich tales. It's a shame that Woolrich is largely unknown today, because if Rendezvous in Black is representative of his work overall, then I certainly plan to read a lot more of his stories.

The less said about this particular story, the better. It's more advan
this is one of those books that defy the star-rating system, offering a reading experience composed of equal parts fascination and repulsion. it's a noir novel in the true sense of the term, where the protagonist is the victimizer (and, here, also the victim) and the ending is one that offers satisfaction to nobody at all, not one goddamn soul. you don't root for anybody in these kinds of novels, and what comeuppance there is contains no consolation or atonement or peace or purpose, just a bitte ...more
I'm not sure when the term "serial killer" came into common use, much less when the serial killer subgenre became popular in fiction.

"Rendezvous in Black," first published in 1948, has got to be one of the earlier examples and it's still one of the best.

The story centers on Johnny Marr (presumably no relation to The Smiths' guitarist), a young man whose bride-to-be is killed in a bizarre accident. Marr vows revenge on the five men he holds responsible for his lover's death. Rather than kill ea
Mark Hennion
I first learned of Cornell Woolrich through the Hard Case Crime series. After learning the genre distinctions which have relegated his powerful work to a criminally forgotten era, I spent some time working with my local library's inter-library loan and *voila*, I had what critics and friends regarded as his masterpiece.

Rendezvous in Black hails from an era before revenge novels were hackneyed or cliche; moreover, Woolrich devoted a generous portion of the opening to allow us to truly delve in to
Really enjoyed this. Yes, there are plot holes you can drive a truck through, and yes, sometimes Woolrich runs off at the mouth--er, pen--to the detriment of the action.

But I kinda didn't care; something about his writing generates a mood and tension that never let up. If you're a fan of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, by all means check this out.
Basically the plot allows for this to be read as several short pieces stitched together. It's very Hitchcockian in mood.

To correct many reviews here, Dorothy wasn't murdered. It was an accident.

Things that bugged me:

There are more than a few times where Woolrich will write something like, "The man then walked into the room". Since it's a character that we've been introduced to before, it quickly becomes a needless affectation.

Also, (view spoiler)
I can't even put into words how much I loved this book. I am now a huge Woolrich fan... such a great writer.
Ismael Galvan
Started good, and then it bored me to tears.
Nikolay Nikiforov
Не так хорошо разбираюсь в теме, но, кажется, самые знаменитые "нуарные" авторы, Хэммет, Чандлер, Кейн — имеют к соответствующему киножанру только косвенное отношение. Они просто писали книги, которые были "нуарно" экранизированы, но из Хэмммета с тем же успехом можно сделать и самурайскую драму и спагетти-вестерн.
У Вулрича же вся книга состоит из вульгарной, но неотразимой, как песни Вертинского, поэзии, поющей Тьму. Крупные планы, низкопробная философия, методичное закручивание винта Ужаса —
Alan Livingston
What a terrific book, the first I’ve read by Woolrich. This is an incredibly well-crafted story written in a noir style I found more compelling than many. Some reviews mention an overblown melodrama, but I found that element to emphasize and enhance the deep emotion of the protagonist/villain, Johnny Marr. This story is about revenge being served very cold, with Marr absolutely determined that those who caused him such pain at the start will feel the same loss he did before it’s all over. The ro ...more
RB Love
Recommended to me by Eileen McGowan and tripped up a little by her sister CJ who hit me with a key spoiler about the plot when she learned I was reading it. I'd never heard of this book or writer, Cornell Woolrich, until Eileen loaned me this book. And now I'm hooked.
Woolrich was apparently as openly gay a writer as one could be in the '30's and 40's when his work was either successfully pre-dating or coinciding with the pillars of the noir edifice, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, Erle Stanle
May 13, 2015 E rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who don't mind highly improbable plots
Shelves: fiction
So Johnny Marr's girlfriend Dorothy turns up murdered on page 2, and Johnny somehow comes up with a list of five men who presumably are the culprits.

From there, I expected a straight-up revenge story, but no. Johnny drops out of the story pretty much altogether, and the rest is told from the point of view of the men and the victims of Johnny's revenge: the most important women in the men's lives. Woolrich chooses not to reveal how Dorothy was killed or whether or not Johnny's been targeting the
Mariano Hortal
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Cada uno de estos libros merecería una entrada propia. Normalmente suelo unirlos en posts conjuntos, porque si no, el blog estaría lleno de entradas de la excelente colección de novela negra/policíaca del sello de RBA Serie Negra. En esta ocasión, y aprovechando el tirón de este monográfico de literatura de género, os pongo a continuación una nueva batería con tres clásicos que ordenaré de más moderno a más antiguo.
El primero del que voy a hab
Jeremy Good
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The epitome of noir in that it was a very dark story. The author's theme here is the randomness and inevitability of death within a world that offers little in the way of real justice. There also is a reflection of the concept of Original Sin -- that there are no true "good" people in the world and that all are capable of doing some wrong out of selfishness.

I found portions of the plot too reliant on coincidence and the antagonist far too able to seemingly do anything without fail. I also found
Yes, this book feels dated (it was first published in 1948), and everything said about Woolrich being a clunky writer is true. But this is classic noir, and a compelling, ominous and twisted read from the first page. I'd never heard of Woolrich before reading a recent review of this reprint. However, either the book's introduction or review (I forget which) noted that during his heyday he apparently had more stories turned into films than any other noir author (including "Rear Window"), and in c ...more
Kevin Wright
Rendezvous in Black is a lean, mean, dark, deftly-written tale. Woolrich definitely deserves his spot alongside Hammett, Chandler and Cain as a classic noir/crime fiction writer. Woolrich is known as a master of suspense, but this novel was surprising to me for another reason: it's really about love. One of the key lines comes toward the end, where one of the characters muses something along the lines of "What is this strange emotion that brings out the best and the worst in us?"

The five vignet
I had high expectations of this book as it is usually held up as one of Woolrich's better novels, the last of his "Black" novels. But he stretches credulity to an almost absurd length and asks us to buy into it. I also have trouble following the storyline sometimes because his subtlety is such that it's overlooked and I find myself rereading passages to figure out the implications.

The story opens when a young girl, waiting outside a drugstore for her beau, is killed by a whiskey bottle falling f
Fantastic stuff. The book starts vaguely with the pedestrian activity of two people in love that is suddenly cut short by unexpected and inexplicable tragedy. This triggers a mania in the surviving man but we lose track of him to follow the stories of individuals whose lives are disturbed by the insertion of a man who makes himself familiar and sympathetic to them only to disappear with death in his wake. A persistent detective becomes our hero and slowly pieces together a tale of madness and wo ...more
best mystery I have read in quote some time. You probably know the plot, devastated young man loses his fiancée due to cruelly careless act and sets his heart on revenge. Yes , some of the language is hokey, but the plot is so well done, it actually may manage to surprise you. After reading hundreds, maybe thousands of mysteries and lots of tv and movies, I thought no one could maintain suspense and create surprise anymore. Cornell woolrich delivers
My first Cornell Woolrich was a fun read. It's pure suspense with no pretensions to being more than that. A young man whose fiancée is killed in a freak accident takes an elaborate revenge on those he holds accountable. The plot hinges on the characters making stupid decisions, and the whole thing is rather far-fetched, but very entertaining.
Marwa Alattar
Rendezvous in Black by Cornell Woolrich, published in March 16th 2004 by Modern Library. The genre of the book is crime and mystery. The book revolved about two people fell in love; they were going to get married. One day Johnny Marr was waiting for his fiancé Dorothy, but she didn’t arrive. After a few moments he notes that his fiancé were been killed by a group of drunken man. He promised him self that in May-31st he wills sake revenge, each year the same date he starts to get revenge, and ta ...more
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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
More about Cornell Woolrich...
The Bride Wore Black Rear Window - Story Collection I Married a Dead Man Night Has a Thousand Eyes Fright (Hard Case Crime #34)

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