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Laura

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,403 ratings  ·  303 reviews
Laura Hunt was the ideal modern woman: beautiful, elegant, highly ambitious, and utterly mysterious. No man could resist her charmsnot even the hardboiled NYPD detective sent to find out who turned her into a faceless corpse. As this tough cop probes the mystery of Lauras death, he becomes obsessed with her strange power. Soon he realizes hes been seduced by a dead womanor ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1942)
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Kurezan Waldo has a massive ego, and this is reflected in his writing and narration.…moreWaldo has a massive ego, and this is reflected in his writing and narration. (less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  2,403 ratings  ·  303 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
He came toward me and I shrank deeper into the corner. This was strange. I had never felt anything but respect and tenderness for this brilliant, unhappy friend. And I made myself think of Waldo dutifully; I thought of the years we had known each other and of his kindness. I felt sick within myself, ashamed of hysteria and weak shrinking. I made myself stand firm; I did not pull away; I accepted the embrace as women accept the caresses of men they dare not hurt. I did not yield, I submitted. I ...more
Bobby Underwood
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First appearing in Collier's Magazine in 1942, this fantastic mystery/romance novel by Vera Caspary is sometimes overshadowed by the magnificent film it spawned, starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney. Director Otto Preminger's masterpiece is one of the finest mysteries in the history of motion pictures. But that does not detract from how wonderful the story is in novel form. Quite simply, this is one of the finest and most unusual mystery novels ever written. Caspary used an unique narrative ...more
James Thane
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
This classic crime novel was first published in 1942, and in 1944, Otto Preminger made from it the equally classic film starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews and featuring a haunting title song composed by David Raskin. Only after the film's release did Johnny Mercer write the lyrics to the song, which quickly became a jazz standard.

It's a very atmospheric novel, set in New York City, that practically reads in black and white. At the center is Laura Hunt, a "modern" young woman, at least by the
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
[9/10]


She was a slender thing, timid as a fawn, and fawn-like, too, in her young uncertain grace. She had a tiny head, delicate for even that thin body, and the tilt of it along with the bright shyness of her slightly oblique dark eyes further contributed to the sense that Bambi - or Bambi's doe - had escaped from the forest and galloped up the eighteen flights to this apartment.

tierney

Laura Hunt had the face of an angel, the kind that makes men weak at the knees and turn them into ad-hoc poets. And
...more
Bobby Underwood
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published by Vera Caspary in 1942 as a seven-part story in Colliers Magazine under the title Ring Twice for Laura, today we know it simply as Laura. This classic mystery-romance is sometimes overshadowed by the magnificent film it spawned a couple of years later, starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney. Director Otto Preminger's masterpiece is one of the finest mysteries in the history of motion pictures. But that lofty height is equaled by the original source for the film, Casparys ...more
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
There are a lot of people who haven't got the brains for their educations.

First I have to say I havent seen the film, am happy to have read the book first since thats the natural order of things I like to take, and that I plan to watch the well-recommended film as soon as possible.

Laura Hunt is dead, and detective Mark McPherson is assigned to investigate. During the mystery, he relies on the advice and personal insight of one of her mentor and friends, Waldo Lydecker, and shines his
...more
Alex
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, noir
Vera Caspary is playing a dangerous game. She's paying lengthy homage to Wilkie Collins' Woman in White, with its shifting stable of unreliable narrators. But she starts with Waldo Lydecker, who is a pretentious boob, and that means your guide for the first 40% or so of the book is annoying.

I thoroughly disliked the book all through this section, because I thought this was the book; I didn't catch the signs that Caspary was in on the joke. When Lydecker says things like "I have been known to
...more
Sara
I remembered the movie from too many years ago to count, with the beautiful Gene Tierney as Laura. As I read, I began to remember the plot, which was a bit of a spoiler for me, but it was a fun read nonetheless. If you do not know the story, it is a terrific piece of noir with a detective that really works!

Now I have the music running through my mind:

Laura is the face in the misty light,
Footsteps that you hear down the hall.
The laugh that floats on a summer night,
That you can never quite recall.
...more
Kathleen
Say what you want about the film, and also the song. Ive said it-theyre both haunting. But reading is the way to experience this story. And Vera Caspary is a vastly underappreciated writer.

We have what could have been a cliché noir: murder, mystery, a hard-boiled detective, a beautiful woman. But though this was written in the 40s, it was written by an independent woman--a woman who knew people, knew how to take care of herself, and who wrote from a standpoint of that knowledge.

Now that I had
...more
Hannah
Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

I've loved the movie adaptation of this book for years, and was happy to find the book on which it was based. Often, the chasm between book and silver screen will leave the fan firmly in one camp or the other. Some books, like The Ghost and Mrs Muir, suffer in comparison to their movie counterpart. Other books, like the Somerset Maugham's incredible novel, The Painted Veil, are actually enhanced by their movie twin.

For Vera Caspary's Laura, I would honestly call
...more
Amy
I have watched the movie Laura (1944) so many times that even my absent-minded mother has begun to object. She forgets she has seen the film until the movie starts playing and then she protests, "We just watched this!"
I then make her watch it again anyway because I love the movie so much. Needless to say, I was excited to discover my favorite film was based off a novel.

I. Wanted. To. Love. This. Book. So. Much.

And I did! Sort of. But not enough. There is something about the scene in the movie
...more
Jenny McPhee
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
THE GRAND ADVENTURE OF VERA CASPARY (My February column at Bookslut)

In Vera Caspary's absorbing autobiography The Secrets of Grown-Ups (1979) recounting her life as a writer, she avows, "This has been the century of The Woman and I know myself fortunate to have been part of the revolution. In another generation, perhaps the next, equality will be taken for granted. Those who come after us may find it easier to assert independence, but will miss the grand adventure of having been born a woman in
...more
Dorcas
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Pleasant who-dunnit about a NYPD detective who, on probing the murder of a young woman, falls in love with her. And then one night while sitting in her old apartment musing the case, a woman in rain soaked clothes enters. .. is Laura really dead, after all? Who wants her dead and will he/she strike again?

So this was good, I enjoyed it, but I enjoyed Vera Caspary's book "Bedelia" much more. "Bedelia" was highly atmospheric and you experienced the story at the same time as the characters, whereas
...more
TJ
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, clean
A very interesting book! I was talked into reading "Laura" by a friend who is an old movie buff and found an original 1942 version. It was like traveling back in time to solve a murder! The writing, descriptions, observations and opinions all reeked '40s style. Each point of view held its own voice so well one feels they know the characters personally right down to their idiosyncrasies. The murder mystery itself has some really great twists and turns that, while one might guess the culprit, make ...more
Morgan Wiley
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I drank in every word of this book. I saw the movie first. And watched it over and over and over due to an uncontrollable crush on Dana Andrews. I just happened to catch in the opening credits the hundredth time I watched it that it was based on this novel by Vera Caspary. I immediately bought it because, as we all know, books are always better than the films.

This did not disappoint. I enjoyed the book so much that I've attempted to force it upon everyone I know that likes to read. (I used to
...more
Andrea
Some might be more familiar with the Otto Preminger film noir by the same name. This is one of the few instances where the film outshines the book, but only because I adore Gene Tierney and much prefer the ending re-written for the film.

The novel, in its own right is a taught, exceptionaly, well-written, psycho-thriller. Dare I say, literary-pulp.
robin friedman
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Laura

The Library of America has released a two-volume box set, "Women Crime Writers" which includes eight suspense novels written by women, with four books from the 1940's and four books from the 1950's. The collection opens with Vera Caspary's "Laura" published in 1942-1943. Otto Preminger's 1945 film version has become famous and has overshadowed the book. But Caspary's novel is worth reading in its own right. Sarah Weinman, the editor of the LOA volumes, made an inspired choice by opening the
...more
Marta
Laura is a suspenseful mystery about an independent woman in the fourties making her way in a mans world. Casparys main interest lies in the characters, and the dilemma of a business woman in an age that still expects women to have a husband to be successful, even if she fully supports herself.

Laura is mesmerizing, and her independence provokes men around her - they are in love with her yet try to control her. Caspary turns the usual dynamic of a man accessorizing with a beautiful woman on its
...more
Cphe
I've had this on my reading radar for ages so was very glad to see this available for kindle. Would best describe this as hard boiled noir. I enjoy when the view of the character presenting the story is unreliable to say the least. Couldn't say that I particularly "liked" the characters or their actions but they were certainly well presented. As for the mystery component itself, it was fairly easy to work out who the murderer must have been. Loved the setting of New York in the 1940's. A classic ...more
Lynda
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all time favorite mysteries. I have owned three editions of it. While the book is entitled Laura, it is really about the three men in her life. Laura as seen through the eyes and descriptions of these three men. Ultimately it the twist in this mystery that makes it memorable. A twist that has been copies many times. I highly recommend it to any murder fans.
DeAnna Knippling
A woman is murdered in her apartment, leaving behind a detective to pick up the pieces...and to fall in love with a woman he can never possess.

A nice, melancholy noir, given from several well-defined POVs..
Antonius Block
Weve all seen the film, but Caspary isnt a name that gets mentioned much. Recently reissued by The Feminist Press, Laura is written in a style that Caspary called the Wilkie Collins method, or that one could call the Rashomon method, in which multiple narrators, who are also characters in the drama, tell fragments of the story from their own perspectives. Waldo Lydecker opens the novel with an abundance of witty, stinging prose, much as he narrates the opening of the film and soon after relishes ...more
Debbie Robson
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another slow start to a book and this time it was because I had made assumptions (wrong as it turned out) about the author Vera Caspary. I thought Laura, the book that inspired the famous film would be similar to, say Chandlers The Big Sleep, but obviously written by a woman.
How wrong I was! Laura is just as atmospheric as The Big Sleep, theres twists and turns but the narrative style is completely different. Laura is made up of five parts, four parts are first person narrative and one part is a
...more
Jennifer Lafferty
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Laura" is one of the best examples of the classic noir mystery novel. The story itself and the writing are equally captivating. The characters are well fleshed out. "Laura's" plotline is colorful as well as complex, but not too difficult to follow. The big screen adaptation of "Laura" is much better known than the book. I saw the film before I read the book but even though I knew the outcome, I greatly enjoyed the novel. It is just as glamorous and entertaining as the iconic film. This is a ...more
Carla Remy
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 20th-century-lit
Maybe this would have been better if I didn't know the 1944 film so well. The movie covers the story very thoroughly. Still, I totally enjoyed reading this. I found this copy at a thrift store in California. It's from 1942 and it still has its dust jacket! Amazing (it is a book club edition, and the cover is faded in parts...still pretty cool).
Jaksen
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good, short novel, evocative of a very specific time and place, the early 1940's.

Sometimes I like to read a mystery set in a specific time and written in that time. I like all the references to politics, society, celebrity, news, etc. I don't get the idea that books like this are criticized as being 'dated;' what else would they be? Any book written in a time, and set in that time, are going to soon be dated. (I read an article about a book written in 2014, which, unfortunately, the critic
...more
Cheryl
Jun 05, 2018 marked it as library-to-read
Shelves: more-wi, mobius, okc
Because Kienie gave it five stars, and it was written by a woman, and it might be as smart (not the right word? clever? appealing to me though I'm not a fan of modern mysteries or thrillers) as the detective stories by Fredric Brown.
Allie Riley
Possibly 2 1/2 stars. I disliked the style of Part One intensely. The twist was something of a cliche and the ending was predictable. Nor did I find it very atmospheric, which is surely the point of noir. Disappointing.
Jeanne
May 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeanne by: Ben Terrall
Laura is an amazing book. I had read Bedelia first--the main character is somewhat like being stuck in a closet with someone with too much lilac perfume. The character Laura is very much the antithesis of Bedelia.

for the time period, the character is quite unconvetional--the working woman, who, by being independent of men, puts herself in danger within society in an intrinsic way. She's not only in danger physically as the motives for murder are unwound, but also reputation-wise, which is also a
...more
Kienie
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The most dangerous thing a woman faces is a man who feels he has a right to her - that she is his and must be shown mastery. It often ends with the woman being ended.
___________________________________________________

On a lighter note, I'd like to think that our heroes dated for a bit, realized that they're better off as friends, and then became best bros who complain to each other about their lovers and jobs over breakfast. Together, they fight crime.
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Women's Classic L...: August 2019- Laura (Spoilers Allowed) 41 25 Sep 25, 2019 01:57AM  
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Vera Caspary, an acclaimed American writer of novels, plays, short stories and screenplays, was born in Chicago in 1899. Her writing talent shone from a young age and, following the death of her father, her work became the primary source of income for Caspary and her mother. A young woman when the Great Depression hit America, Caspary soon developed a keen interest in Socialist causes, and joined ...more

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