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Bedelia

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  180 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Long before Desperate Housewives, there was Bedelia: pretty, ultra femme, and "adoring as a kitten." A perfect housekeeper and lover, she wants nothing more than to please her insecure new husband, who can't believe his luck. But is Bedelia too good to be true?

A mysterious new neighbor turns out to be a detective on the trail of a "kitten with claws of steel"—a picture-per
...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1945)
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Dorcas
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
This was such a fun book! It reads like an old b&w suspense film (actually this was made into a movie in 1946), and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Basically, we have a Black Dahlia type woman who has already buried four or five husbands, now contentedly married to her latest and acting like the all-doting, butter-wouldnt-melt-in-my-mouth, if-you-ever-leave-me-I'll-die, Suzie Homemaker.

Which really makes the story all the more chilling. Her husband can only see her sweet dependence and childish
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``Laurie Henderson
Classic pulp fiction.

Don't expect to get any sleep till you're finished reading this one - impossible to put down thriller.
Tweety
What a book.

Bedelia is the perfect wife, who makes the perfect home life and can do no wrong in her husband's eyes. Everyone adores her. So why is it that things don't add up? She tells her past in little stories scattered throughout the years, each of them outstanding tales of the poor Bedelia who has lead a sorry life. Until she met her present husband who believes the sun doesn't shine without her. And now she claims she leads a lovely life and couldn't love him more or be happier. Her husba
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Ben Winch
At first pretty great; after 150 pages slightly trying. Caspary is a natural writer but not much really happens: a lot of intense repressed-husband and maybe-psychotic-wife conversations and a climactic twist that I found neither thrilling nor convincing. Psychologically nuanced though it is, and possessed of some nice storm-whipped-country-house-in-harsh-northern-winter atmosphere, it’s a little turgid as a thriller, and not quite well-wrought enough to stand up without the genre scaffold. I li ...more
Carla Remy
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulp-and-romance
I loved this. I couldn't stop reading it. As far as I can tell, this state of sublime reading happens to me at most twice a year. There were many moments in this which reminded me of my beloved My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier. And Bedelia is from several years before. Just saying. The more you know about the past, the more you see that nothing exists in a vacuum,that everything has precedents.
John
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Architect Charlie Horst went on vacation to get over his grief after the death of his beloved mother, and while away fell for the beautiful widow Bedelia, whom he married and brought home to Connecticut with him. He's still besotted with her, as are some of the locals. Even journalist Ellen, who's loved Charlie since childhood, admits that Bedelia's a paragon. One person who seems especially interested in her is artist Ben Chaney, who's rented the neighboring house for a few months in order to d ...more
Bethany
I love the Femme Fatale series, but was disappointed with Bedelia--it's not "bad"--just not as good as I'd hoped. Then again, once you've read "Laura" can any of the author's other books ever measure up? Only three stars, but still a good read.
Ceejay
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most famous film noir movies of the 1940's was Laura, based on the novel by Vera Caspary. It made her famous. Bedelia was written a few years later, and also filmed. Bedelia is an amazing psychological thriller. The tag line for this book was: She Seduces Men...But Does She Kill Them? And there you have your plot. I was surprised by the actions of one of the main characters. I was surprised by a major plot twist.And I was surprised by the ending. What more can you ask from a novel? If ...more
Gabrielle Friesen
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book purely on the strength of the cover and the tagline: "She Seduces Men...But Does She Kill Them?" Which is amazing to think that that marketing is still working seventy years later. While I thought the tagline was funny, like an elitist I thought "This book is probably garbage, I'm so above pulp fiction, but maybe it will be interesting to read in a historical sense." What a fool I was. As soon as I started reading this book, I could not stop. I haven't finished a book this qui ...more
Jim Dooley
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the story opens, we are introduced to a young couple who are so obviously head-over-heels in love, only to meet a second man who is assiduously feigning his disinterest in them. Of course, since we are reading a Vera Caspary novel, this can only mean that one and all are headed for trouble, and somebody will turn up dead.

BEDELIA is “the other famous Caspary novel” after LAURA. Like that other work, it is filled with twists and turns that cause the reader to wonder who is really guilty…and if
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Mel
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I ordered this book shortly after finishing Laura because I loved that so much and I have to say I may have liked this even better. It was very short, but such a lovely paranoid claustrophobic book. The act of a perfect submissive, bouncy, loving housewife who secretly was a homicidal manic, but never let her mask slip. Bedelia was exactly the type of woman character I'd normally hate but in Caspary's hands she was great. The book was set at Christmas during a snowstorm so this was the perfect t ...more
Kat Rocha
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
definately belongs on any shelf with Double Indemnity or Nightmare Alley. It's a shame the film doesn't exist anymore.
Laura
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Having read Laura I was interested in Vera Caspary's other books. When I saw that Bedelia was about a woman who killed her husbands (aka a Black Widow) I was immediately intrigued because that kind of mystery is right up my alley.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I really like Caspary's style. She writes very intense scenes that aren't necessarily right in your face frightening. They're a subtler intensity and there's a sense of the sinister to even a seemingly mundane conversation.

What I
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Brianna Kovan
Vera Caspary's Bedelia provides the best kind of pulp: murder/femme fatale/deception. The novel is a page turner, but Caspary narrates the story without coming across as trite. This is in part because the dramatized story points at real problems - particularly for women in the mid-1900s.

On its surface, the story follows the newly-married couple of Charlie and Bedelia Horst. Bedelia is the perfect wife: keeping up with the Joneses (and outshining them, quite frankly). She hosts. She smiles. She p
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Hayden
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university, read-2017
'Bedelia' is an excellent example of the femme fatale - sexy but dangerous. I was hooked throughout, and can't wait to explore this more in the lecture/seminars.
William
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like other readers, I got to "Bedelia" after enjoying "Laura." They are very different books, though. "Laura" is a mystery and this one is more suspense. Not much happens, but the book still really held my interest.

Caspary writes with skill. I especially liked her attention to details, even down to the lacing on Bedelia's corset. The things in this story are tangible, especially clothing and implements of domestic living.

People are less crisply delineated, aside from Charlie and Bedelia. Throug
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Rebecka
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no expentations whatsoever when I picked up this book. Choosing it because I wanted to learn why Bryan Fuller had named one of his characters on Hannibal after the main character of this book, I thought that maybe it was going to be about a strong, mysterious and potentially dangerous woman. And I was partially right about that.

I really enjoyed the suspence in this. Bedelia is a very bizarre character and she enjoys mindgames and playing with fear. She is scary and knows how to play with h
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Jeanne
May 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for Bedelia going into the read, having heard some high praise for Laura by the same author. I just didn't like the main character...actually i didn't like any of the characters. they're all uncomfortable in their roles in society, secretive and sort of pompous. except for Bedelia, the visual essence of feminine beauty and servitude.

the reader never gets into bedlia's head, which i guess helps the plot, though her motives seem too obvious, maybe, to be real. the weather and the
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Tamara Vallejos
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The latest book in my vintage noir kick, and my first by Vera Caspary (love finding women writers in this genre!). It didn't disappoint at all. A really interesting read about a black widow but not at all cliche or suspenseful in the standard ways you'd expect such a story to be. The ending was genius and perfectly manipulative.
Susan
Jul 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Charlie Horst travels to Colorado after the death of his mother and returns home to rural Connecticut with his new wife, Bedelia. She's charming and devoted to Charlie. A few minor inconsistencies in what she tells her husband and neighbors don't matter, do they? A fast moving thriller by the author of Laura with a very interesting afterword about the author and her books.
Dana Jennings
Written in 1945, this is a crisp psychological thriller by Caspary. Taut and nuanced, the story centers on the final seduction a serial murderer undertakes. The reader watches as the criminal, comparable to a black widow in her disguise and cunning, uses all her charms and skills to escape the mundanity of one world for another. Fascinating.
Bruce
Apr 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a mystery of character, and as such is fascinating for much of the narrative. The plot, however, winds up rather perfunctorily and predictably. A good movie version might be a considerable improvement, as with Caspary's Laura.
Noran Miss Pumkin
Just scored this and some other coolth titles at my used DVD/game store-they are now selling used books.
Loaded up cheap on some Scandinavian detective books I am been tempted to dapple in. For $3 each-cannot go wrong. Went in looking for Big Bang Theory and left with 2 bags of books! :)
Alisa
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
3.5 stars. Not a great book, but a good one--a sort of beach read from another era. Though events take place in 1913, the feel is very much 1940s noir. Love this series of forgotten gems issued by the Feminist Press.
Mike Orta
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very suspenseful psychological thriller. It is comparable to "Leave Her to Heaven" by Ben Ames Williams.
Danice
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-pulp
Loved it! Many thanks to The Feminist Press for restoring the best of women's writing in the classic pulp genres. I can't wait to explore more works by the queens of pulp.
Christina
Not the best in this series, which for the most part I really enjoy, but not bad, either.
susan
Jun 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the coolest book club book ever. keep your eye out for the word "sluttishness." Just keep your eye out, people.
Kathleen Flynn
So. My book lover sister-in-law found this 1945 book, from the library of Mrs. Lois Ellison, at a book sale. Just read it on a flight up to Seattle. A potboiler! Circa the 40's that is. :)
Karen
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I thought the ending was a bit confusing, I liked the theme and the fact that something like this was written over 50 years ago. Bedelia is truly a fascinating character.
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Classic Trash: Bedelia: Finished (Spoilers) 12 4 Nov 08, 2016 02:05PM  
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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
More about Vera Caspary...