RARA-AVIS: Re: Woolrich as Short Story Writer

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Mar 2008


Re your comments below:

"Jim, believe it or not, the first Mystery Writers of America Edgar awarded to Best Novel was in 1954
(Charlotte Jay's BEAT NOT THE BONES). The MWA awarded Edgars beginning in 1946 but the only awards given in 1946 and 1947 was for Best First Mystery Novel (American) and then from 1948 through 1953, there was an award for Best Short Story to go along with the Best First Novel. The Short Story award in those early years went to entire collections
(1952's FANCIES AND GOODNIGHTS by John Collier) or editing (Ellery Queen in 1948 and 1950). The first actual short story to win an individual award was "The House Party" by Stanley Ellin in 1955. An aside here: if you enjoy mystery/crime short stories and have not read Stanley Ellin, you are missing some of the best ever written."

I was aware that there was no award for best novel until 1953 (awarded in 1954). However, it didn't occur to me, until you mentioned it, that Woolrich had pretty much given up novels by the time the award was establised.

However, a minor correction, the First Novel Edgar
(the only category that goes all the way back to the first Edgar ceremony, that's been given every single year since that first ceremony, and survives to this day pretty much unaltered), was not the only category for which Edgars were awarded in 1946.

There was also an award for best screenplay, which was won by John Paxton for MURDER, MY SWEET (with THE HOUSE ON 92ND STREET as a runner-up), and one for Best Radio Series (IIRC, that first year it was a tie between ELLERY QUEEN and MR. AND MRS. NORTH, though SUSPENSE and, to a lesser degree, DRAGNET, would come to dominate this category in later years).

Getting back to Woolrich, the quality of his few later novels kind of proves my point, because during this period, Woolrich was still turning out first-rate short fiction. He'd win a cash award from EQMM for
"One Drop of Blood," for example, a masterful inverted detective story.

Woolrich was also the "recipient" of two indirect Edgars. The screenwriters of both THE WINDOW and REAR WINDOW won Edgars in the screenplay category, and both of these films were adapted from Woolrich short stories. By contrast, the only Woolrich film derived from a novel to be nominated, 1968's THE BRIDE WORE BLACK, lost to BULLITT.


      ____________________________________________________________________________________ Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now. http://mobile.yahoo.com/;_ylt=Ahu06i62sR8HDtDypao8Wcj9tAcJ

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 01 Mar 2008 EST