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Cornell Woolrich Omnibus [Paperback]

Cornell Woolrich
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 19 1998
Mystery aficionado Ellery Queen said of Cornell Woolrich that he can "distill more terror, more excitement, more downright nail-biting suspense out of even the most commonplace happenings than nearly all his competitors." Woolrich's work continues to fascinate readers all around the world, and this trilogy should become a staple in all noir collections. It contains two full length novels (I Married a Dead Man and Waltz into Darkness) and five short stories, including "Rear Window"-works in which one of the genre's consumate "poets of terror" explores all the classic noir themes of loneliness, despair, futility, and occasionally redemption.
* Film adaptations of Woolrich works include the Hitchcock classic Rear Window.
* Christopher Reeve will star in an upcoming television remake of Rear Window.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Library Journal

This is a rich compilation of several of Woolrich's noir masterpieces from the 1940s, including Rear Window, I Married a Dead man, and Waltz into Darkness. A gangbusters collection. (Classic Returns, LJ 2/15/98)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let me introduce you to my new favorite author March 15 2002
I just finished reading "Waltz into Darkness" about five minutes ago. I had to log on to write a review right away because it was so wonderful. Cornell Woolrich is the master of suspense.. it is impossible to put this book down. I tried to go away from the reading to savor the moment, but alas, I was drawn automatically back into reading. I had to know what would happen next!
"Waltz into Darkness" was the reason for my purchase of the book. I had seen the movie "Original Sin" and was rather taken with the plot, if not the movie itself. I discovered the "Cornell Woolrich Omnibus" and thought, well, why not?
Let me just say that I am so glad that I bought this book. I am an avid fan of James Ellroy, but other than that noir fiction was not known to me. Cornell Woolrich's writing was consistently well written, amazingly well-timed, and delivered in a manner that can only be compared with the likes of F.Scott Fitzgerald. (By the way, it has been said that Woolrich considered Fitzgerald an idol.)
Let's start at the beginning. The five short stories are so diverse. Everyone knows "Rear Window" because of it's Hitchcock fame. Very good, but let's not shun the others just because they are not well known. The best would HAVE to be "Three O'Clock." It has the heart racing and pulse quicking before one can get into the first few pages. The other stories are good.. I was also impressed with "Post-Mortem" and "Change of Murder." "Momentum" was the only one where I was put off by the ending.
The first novel was "I Married a Dead Man." Wow.. fabulous. It leaves you wondering what exactly happened, which normally bothers me beyond belief. However, this was done so well.. and IT COULD HAVE ACTUALLY HAPPENED AT THE TIME... which makes it all the more intriguing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well, at least something is in print Jan. 15 2000
For those of you who have never met him, let me introduce you to Cornell Woolrich, the greatest suspense writer of all time. He's cruel, he'll wring you dry, he'll pummell you physically and emotionally until you just about break down. And you'll never be able to get enough.
Now let me introduce you to the ONLY thing that is in print from this remarkable man, who wrote over twenty novels and a few hundred short stories... The Omnibus, which contains I MARRIED A DEAD MAN and WALTZ INTO DARKNESS, two of the last novels of his "main" period and both written under the psuedonym William Irish, and five short stories collected under the Title "Rear Window". I MARRIED A DEAD MAN is one of Woolrich's best: existentially terrifying, incredibly depressing, and wholly dependant on bizarre coincindences that you must just accept as being part of his cruel and mocking universe. WALTZ is a strange choice to include, since it uncharacteriscally takes place in a period setting (1880s Louisiana) and depends less on crime and suspense than his other works, but it is nonetheless captivating -- his dark view of life and love still sits at the helm, but this novel isn't representative of his work the way you would expect for inclusion in an "Omnibus".
As for the shorts, they are uniformally a strong group. "Change of Muder" and "Post-Mortem" are solid if not incredible, but they do show you what some of his typical magazine work was like. "Rear Window" (which was first published as "It Had To Be Murder") is still a great story, even if you've seen the movie a few hundred times. Woolrich keeps the action tense and clautrophobic they way no one else can.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction to a neglected master Oct. 31 1998
Despite the fact that it doesn't blindside the reader the way that, say, The Bride Wore Black or The Black Angel blindside the reader, I Married A Dead Man is my favorite of Woolrich's novels. It has a doom in store for the central character that is more haunting and more ambiguous than the doom that awaits any of Woolrich's other protagaonists and it followed me around for days afterwards after I read it. Waltz in to Darkness isn't in the same league, but it is very good on it's own terms. Woolrich was trying to write a "mainstream" novel here, but his worldview seeps into every page. The stories in Rear Window and other stories are all first rate. "Three O'Clock" is a corker and "Post Mortem" has a premise you have to read to believe. The rest of Woolrich's output is stupidly out of print right now. I've been collecting it used, but some of the obscure stuff (Children of the Ritz, Strangler's Serenade, Death is My Dancing Partner) is either too expensive or just plain unavailable. I would love to see some enterprising publisher do "the complete Cornell Woolrich."
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If you haven't come across Cornell Woolrich before (or William Irish or George Hopley), you are in for a treat.
Oddly enough, for a "Woolrich Omnibus", two novels that were originally published as by William Irish have been selected, and, even then, two of his lesser novels under that pseudonym. Don't get me wrong - the two novels are good, but they are not among his best. The 5 short stories in the "Rear Window" section are all top-notch, however.
The most unfortunate thing about this collection is that all three sections, "I Married a Dead Man", "Waltz Into Darkness", and "Rear Window and other stories", were all available separately until recently, while other, more deserving novels and short story collections have been out-of-print for many years, and hundreds of Woolrich's short stories lie uncollected in old pulp magazines. Why not revive some of these rather than trying to sell the most recently available stories in a different format?
"I Married A Dead Man" is a story of a young, pregnant, penniless woman who is thrown out on the street by her child's father. When she is involved in a train accident that kills a rich young man and his pregnant wife, she is mistaken for the man's wife by his family and taken in by them. Her past, however, threatens to destroy both her new-found happiness and the people that she has come to care for.
"Waltz Into Darkness" is the story of a lonely man who tries to find companionship by proposing marriage to a pen-pal. When she arrives, however, she is beautiful and does not at all resemble her picture.
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