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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,843 ratings  ·  392 reviews
Laura Hunt was the ideal modern woman: beautiful, elegant, highly ambitious, and utterly mysterious. No man could resist her charms—not even the hardboiled NYPD detective sent to find out who turned her into a faceless corpse. As this tough cop probes the mystery of Laura’s death, he becomes obsessed with her strange power. Soon he realizes he’s been seduced by a dead woma ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1942)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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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 st ...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
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017

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.


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
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 Collier’s 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, Caspary’s ...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 haven’t seen the film, am happy to have read the book first since that’s 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 suspi
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
The setting is 1941, NYC. A woman is shot dead answering the doorbell. Is this woman who we think she is, and who has killed her? Several are implicated—a former lover, the fiancé, ……. To say more about the plot is unnecessary.

Why four stars? Even if this is a who dunnit, to figure this out it is necessary to understand the characters well. We are given not only a who dunnit mystery to solve but also in-depth character studies. I enjoy analyzing characters, studying motivations, how people act w
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 sh
Say what you want about the film, and also the song. I’ve said it-they’re 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 40’s, 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 h
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.
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
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Laura is first and foremost a gripping crime story and one of the finest, for that matter. But, unlike most detective stories of the era, it’s also a character study and an enchanting psychological game between its protagonists. The four main characters dance around each other, offering us ample views of their inner selves and complex relationship.
And that’s what put Vera Caspary slightly apart from the other authors of the genre. Apart, but not too far because she was still constrained by the n
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 th
Nancy Oakes
read in March

Between a 4 and a 4.5
full post here:

Like most crime/mystery fiction I enjoy reading, Laura is a complex, twisty and suspenseful story that moves beyond the realm of standard whodunits into the more literary zone where human nature is put under a microscope. And oh my -- the range of psyches in this book definitely merit close examination. At the center of this story is Laura Hunt and the people in her immediate orbit, and then there's the det
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Oct 21, 2021 rated it really liked it

3.5 stars

Most of this book's charm for me comes from its vintage. It's so much more fun to read a noir-ish mystery that was published in 1942 than to read one by a present-day author who researched the era and then wrote a book set in 1942. The language used is especially indicative of the time in which it was written. These were the days when "gay" meant happy and lighthearted, and "dick" meant detective. So when Bessie says to Laura, "For once, even if he's a dick, you've met a man," it's not
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
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I have promised that I won't give spoilers in my reviews. That makes writing one for this title more challenging than I'd like. The novel is broken into 5 parts and is mostly told in the first person by different narrators. Caspary manages to alter her writing style just enough so that in addition to the story these narrators have to tell, we also are treated to some very good caricature if not actual characterization.

It seems to me there are three basic elements in a novel: writing style, char
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
robin friedman
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing

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
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: clean, mystery
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 McBroom
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 t
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.
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Laura by Vera Caspary is a classic of the noir genre. Originally published in 1942, it was also turned into a successful movie in 1944, starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb and Vincent Price.

The premise is that Laura Hunt, a successful ad executive, is found dead in her apartment, killed by a shotgun blast. Det Lt Mark McPherson is assigned the case. His investigation will bring hm into contact with author / newspaper columnist, Waldo Lydecker and Laura's fiance, Shelby Carpenter. T
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Written in the 1940s a woman is found with her head blown off. The solving of this crime is as pleasing to read as sipping a fine vintage red wine. Subtle layers of vintage leather, spice and psychological intrigue waft most pleasingly.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Laura is a suspenseful mystery about an independent woman in the fourties making her way in a man’s world. Caspary’s 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
Antonius Block
We’ve all seen the film, but Caspary isn’t 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 re ...more
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
In many ways the famous film adaptation hangs above the original novel in the same way Laura’s portrait silently hangs above the action of story, the idealized version everyone keeps referring back to and rhapsodizing over in hushed tones. When anything is placed on such a high pedestal, reality is bound to disappoint.

Which is a shame, because Caspary is a first-rate prose stylist (something that is only finally starting to become widely recognized). A sample throwaway line: “the landlady was l
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.
Carla Remy
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
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). ...more
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Women's Classic L...: August 2019- Laura (Spoilers Allowed) 41 26 Sep 25, 2019 01:57AM  
Women's Classic L...: August 2019- Laura (NO Spoilers) 17 27 Aug 21, 2019 10:49AM  
Goodreads Librari...: add cover for audio edition? 3 14 Jan 23, 2018 11:59AM  

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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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