Re: RE : RARA-AVIS: Bloch/Woolrich

From: Patrick King (
Date: 13 Feb 2008

Jeff wrote:
> All of it? I don't see how you could have seen all
> of it coming. I've never
> been able to figure out how any Woolrich novel ends
> except maybe Phantom
> Lady.
*************************************************** I got from the drole humor of Lance's entrance on the murder scene that everything was not as Marshall thought it was. Then all we learned about Marshall's predicament was what his fevered imagination tells us. Even in 1915, a murdered woman found in a closet would at least make the New York papers. Lance would certainly recognize the address and send his best friend a letter saying, 'you'll never guess what happened at your old apartment house.' That didn't happen. Either Woolrich forgot about these factors
(not very likly as that would make the book less likely to be published) or he was saving what happened as a suprise for later. Fictional murders are very different from real murders. A fictional murder has to have an element of irony so that the story resolution works out right. I try to think of these things all the time, so when I'm reading a book I'm always considering what the author is most likely to do. I thought this twist was almost too obvious. Very few mysteries fool me because I don't try to solve them, I think, what are the author's options and what will make the best story? Real life crime, on the other hand, is seldom ironic and doesn't have an audience to satisfy by fulfilling a plot outline. Thinking like this has ruined Conan Doyle for me, because his resolutions are so unrealistic, and given me a great appreciation for Ed McBain and Ruth Rendell, two writers who occasionally suprise me.

Patrick King
--- Jeff Vorzimmer <> wrote:

> >I wouldn't call Marjorie "strong, reserved,
> >> determined, and confident." She's loyal to a
> fault.
> This is a generalization that fits Woolrich's female
> characters relative to
> his male protagonists. It's a characteristic of his
> books that shows up over
> and over again.
> > As to the unpredictability of the ending, perhaps
> it's
> > because I write, too, but I saw it coming very
> early
> > on. It's good! Don't get me wrong. But I did
> expect
> > it.

> Jeff

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