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The Black Angel

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  326 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Woolrich devised and used instruments of psychological torture-his stories.-TIME Nothing beats a tale of fatalistic dread by the supreme master of suspense, Cornell Woolrich.-The New York Times A novel as hypnotic as it is suspenseful, its atmosphere haunting, its shadows long, this intimate thriller by past master of noir fiction Cornell Woolrich delivers its unfailing an ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by Pegasus Books (first published 1943)
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Bobby Underwood
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Output is not quality, of course, but as Ray Bradbury noted, it produces quality, and Cornell Woolrich was prolific. He also is one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. What cinches his place in history is a stretch where he published one great novel of gripping, enduring suspense after another. In essence, he created his own noir sub-genre where before there had been none. His use of the language was extraordinary, his ability to cast a mood magical, and his mastery of creating hea ...more
David Schaafsma
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cornell Woolrich was called the Father of Noir, and I listened to this book because I have been dipping back into some noir, thanks to my reading of some graphic novels by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. And I discovered Woolrich had written the short story, “It Had to Be Murder,” on which Hitchcock’s Rear Window had been based. I’ve also been reading the noir-ish novels of Patrick Modiano. So why not pick one of the great noir mystery and suspense writers, who turned out book after book, many of ...more
Dan Schwent
Alberta Murray is convinced her husband is having an affair. Imagine her shock when her husband is arrested for his mistress's murder! Alberta happened upon the crime scene before the police and the only clue is a matchbook with the letter M embossed on the cover. She pilfers the victim's address book and starts going down the M's one by one. Can she find the killer before her husband is executed?

My problems with this book started with the premise. If a woman found out her husband was cheating o

Description: A novel as hypnotic as it is suspenseful, its atmosphere haunting, its shadows long, this intimate thriller by past master of noir fiction Cornell Woolrich delivers its unfailing angel from her waking nightmare into a chillingly impossible dream.

From the 1930s until his death in 1968, Cornell Woolrich riveted the reading public with his pulp noir. Classic films like Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window earned Woolrich the epithet "the twentieth cent
Fred Shaw
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Black Angel
By Cornell Woolrich
Published 1943
Blackstone Audio
Read by Hillary Huber
5 Stars

This outstanding classic crime story is about a newly married pretty young woman, Alberta French, who believes her husband is cheating on her. As she discovers it’s true, she goes to confront her husbands lover. As she approaches the woman’s apartment, seeing the door ajar, she enters calling out. No answer. She slowly walks around the apartment criticizing the decor, then heads toward the bedroom. She s
Carla Remy
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
April 2018:
When I see this review now, I cringe, only because I said Highsmith is the one significant female Crime writer of the mid twentieth century. Since then we have had the printing of Library of America's Women Crime Writers of the 1940s and 50s books. And Kindle or e-reading has created a whole renaissance of availability of old books, and wonderfully this includes many novels by women. So, anyway, whether it is timing or my own ignorance back in 2014, I am glad to have been wrong.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αρχετυπικό νουάρ, ενός από τους Γενάρχες του είδους. Η πλοκή με τα σημερινά μέτρα δεν είναι κάτι ιδιαίτερο, πολλώ δε μάλλον, ρεαλιστική. Το σκοτάδι είναι εκεί όμως, το Ύφος του συγγραφέα περνάει από τις "χαραμάδες" και σε στιγμές μάς ταρακουνά. Σίγουρα ενδιαφέρον.
Leon Marks
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Not my favorite of his, but I had tons of distractions while reading this, so it might just be me.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I bought and read this book for two reasons. One is that I had seen a couple of film noirs I thoroughly enjoyed based on Woolrich's books, so I was curious about his work. The second is that I realized I haven't been reading as much 'pulp fiction' as I should.

"The Black Angel" was written in 1943 and is filled with characters and places very reflective of the era. It is, in simplest form, about a woman whose husband is sentenced to death for murdering someone, and her efforts to prove his innoce
Nathanael Smith
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was my 3rd Cornell Woolrich book to read, and I think I have to say it's been my favorite of his that I have read so far. It's all about a girl who's husband is accused of murdering his mistress and of course doesn't believe he was the guilty party so goes on a venture to discover the real murderer. At first I was a little unsure as to how much I would enjoy it, for one thing the format was told in a different way than I'm used to for a mystery, and on top of that it was all told through th ...more
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
BLACK ANGEL. (1943). Cornell Woolrich. ***.
In order to enjoy Woolrich’s novels, you have to send yourself back in time to the 1930s and 1940s when the conventions he used in them were more real than they are now. If you can do that, you will have surmounted a big hurdle and begin to appreciate his place in the history of mystery writing. He is known as the ‘Father of Noir,’ which is likely true when you get over his many histrionics. Anyway…this novel explores the plight of a young wife who just
Lady Delacour
Woolrich knew the art of writing.
His descriptions were so creative.
Hillary Huber did a nice job narrating.
Slow start but, soon hits her stride.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cornell Woolrich was one of the most accomplished noir writers of the century and is often ranked just behind Hammett, Chandler, and Gardner. He also wrote under the pen names William Irish and George Hopley. Dozens of films were adapted from his books, including Black Angel, Fear in the Night, Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black, and Original Sin. His work is dark and brooding and often features a protagonist who has sinned and cannot ever get his or her hands clean. His best known novels include ...more
Tom Shannon, Jr
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another solid read by Woolrich! Protagonist Alberta French investigates her husband Kirk's extramarital affair with Mia Mercer, only to discover the woman dead in her apartment. She knows Kirk's innocent so she swipes Mia's address book before vacating the murder scene, because it has Kirk's name in it. Before leaving, she notices the initials "MM" on a crumpled matchbook cover that was wedged into the door frame to keep the door from locking. Kirk, who was repentant and about to break off the a ...more
Cecily Kyle
Sep 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: wobble
Just not my thing I guess!

I am pretty confident that if I wasn't reading this book to fulfil a challenge I am participating in, it would have been a DNF. However, I went along just to finish it and my mind didn't change...
Maybe because it was written in the 1940's but it felt so much like I could picture it as a black and white movie, the way she described things were almost theatrical. Nevermind the fact that she does everything in her power to try to exonerate her cheating husband... like co
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow--this is perfection. I have been hunting Cornell Woolrich like the dodo bird and this was the first thing I was able to get my hands on. I am not disappointed--a noir women's adventure--amazing. The main character, Alberta French, is brave, naive, quick to learn, and an all around good egg--but she still gets trapped in the snare that is noir. Beautifully written, exciting and tense and unpredictable. I cannot wait to read more of Woolrich if this is any indication of what I can expect.
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime_fiction, noir
A solid, old school noir mystery. Excellent writing, although the dialgue is a bit stilted for the modern ear--but no worse than watching an old b@w movie. The first-person female narrator presents in interesting study for feminist readers/writers.
This is copy 40 of 300 signed numbered copies, signed by:

Rex Burns (Introduction)
Matt Mahurin(Cover Illustrator)
Jacob McMurray (Jacket Design)
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved the evocation of another era--could even imagine the dialogue being spoken with the crisp elocution of the movie stars from that time period.
Bill Arnold
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another noire tour de force by Cornell Woolrich. "The Black Angel" is Alberta Murray, a young woman who, when her husband is charged with murder, possesses the knowledge that he absolutely didn't commit the crime. She sets out to find the perpetrator possessing few clues but an abundance of grit, determined to get her man off death row.
This is the 4th novel in Cornell Woolrich's 6 "Black" series (all the titles featuring the word black). Woolrich pulls the reader into the shadowy, bleak world of
Janet Martin
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think the plot or main character have quite held up for nearly 75 years, but the prose is wonderful and atmospheric. An excellent performance by Hilary Huber certainly enhanced the experience of listening to a book without a single grammatical error or usage flaw
Jun 04, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apparently, this book is typical of the Woolrich style -- though I cannot confirm this at it is my first exposure to his writing. I've seen "Rear Window" numerous times, however, and another of his works was the basis for that film. This book is narrated by a young and apparently beautiful angelic wife of a cheating husband. When she discovers her husband's bags packed for a getaway from married life, the wife decides to confront the mistress while her spouse is at work. She discovers the other ...more
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holger Haase
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
The first two chapters could easily be called "Stand By Your Man".

A cheated wife stands loyally by her husband who is accused of murdering his lover and faces the electric chair. All she can focus on is getting back with him again and proving his innocence.

As ridiculously door mattish as this may sound, these over-the-top declarations of eternal love for someone who probably didn't deserve much better work actually quite well as she is soon being confronted with a range of situations in search o
Tim Schneider
I felt like this was a fairly weak effort from Woolrich. I've taken to giving him a pass on the absurdity of his plots. This one is more than a tad difficult simply from the motivation of the protagonist. Keeping in mind that this was the early 40s, I'm still not sure I buy it.

Again we have heavy coincidence and far-fetched plotting, a Woolrich hallmark. And again the episodic chapter nature of the writing. Generally that is more than made up for in the actual writing and the palpable suspense
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, thriller
Viso d'angelo

E' così che Kirk apostrofa amorevolmente la mogliettina Alberta nell'intimità, viso d'angelo. Quando Kirk viene ingiustamente accusato dell'omicidio della sua amante, Mia, Alberta gli perdona anche il tradimento e fa di tutto per scoprire il vero assassino.
Incurante degli ambienti in cui deve intrufolarsi e dei compromessi a cui deve scendere, Alberta segue una lista di quattro nomi, quattro uomini candidati al ruolo di assassino.

Bellissimo noir d'epoca, Angelo nero è un romanzo go
M.E. E. May
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the first novel I've read by Woolrich and I enjoyed it, but like all fiction written in the 1940's and 1950's, it isn't the same fast-paced novel I'm used to reading. I had to keep that in mind as I did struggle from time-to-time and skipped over some rundant portions. I'm sure in 1943 it was a great read for mystery readers. We must keep in mind that investigative forensics at that time consisted of fingerprints and blood type for the most part and read this like a historical novel. At ...more
While her husband is on death-row for murder, a determined wife tries to prove his innocence by ferreting out the real killer. Each chapter, she insinuates herself into the life of another suspect. Each tense step in her investigation could be a separate story; a noir portmanteau.

There is a HUGE plot hole, but I loved the wife's resourcefulness and the overall atmosphere of the story so much that it remains a solid 4 stars.
Apr 15, 2010 rated it did not like it
The narrator was getting on my nerves. Perhaps, it is a measure of some slight progress I have been making lately, however haltingly, in breaking out of the obsessional cocoon of my own making, in which I have been sleeping, like a waking dead, lately, finding kinship and consonance with/in these books.
It was too easy to guess who the killer is going to turn out to be. So, I made sure, by skipping to the very end. I will still try another Woolrich, but so far - too melodramatic.
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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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“It's hard to say goodbye for good at any time or any place. It's harder still to say it through a meshed wire. It crisscrossed his face into little diagonals, gave me only little broken-up molecules of it at a time. It stenciled a cold, rigid frame around every kiss.” 14 likes
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