Welcome to the cradle of Cornell Woolrich’s inimitable style. In many ways, the short story was Woolrich’s métier. Each of the tales in this treasury is a taut, tough, sometimes terrifying example of Woolrich’s ability to mix murder and mood with dashes of agonizing suspense. Here you’ll find characters on desperate, fear-fueled journeys through urban underbellies and dark alleyways.
“After Dinner Story” bathes us in cold, claustrophobic fear as several men are trapped in an out-of-control elevator — where a murder has just been committed. “An Apple A Day,” “Cigarette,” and “The Heavy Sugar” take us on sinister sojourns through dark city streets, each about a character desperate to hunt down a telltale clue linking him to a dastardly crime. “Detective William Brown” chronicles the rise and fall of a brilliant but vicious detective, whose uncontrollable ambition leads to murder and a truly twisted redemption.
Suspicion and paranoia play out in “The Case of the Killer Diller,” as the songstress in a jazz troupe struggles to solve the murder of one of her bandmates; each member of the group has an airtight alibi at the time of the killing. “Guillotine” is a classic exercise in tension, as a condemned killer meticulously crafts a plot to keep his head from rolling — by executing his executioner. “All At Once, No Alice” is vintage Woolrich: a young newlywed sweats blood as he searches for his bride, who disappears after spending the night in a sleazy hotel — with no evidence that she even existed.
Between these covers is some of Cornell Woolrich’s finest work. Start early; you’ll be turning the pages long after dark.
Cloth: $75, on sale for $60. This book is unsigned and unnumbered