No E-Book For Stephen King

I tried to purchase the latest Stephen King this weekend. At an honest to goodness real live indie bookstore in N. Jersey. They were out of stock. Out of stock!! After my mouth stopped its jaw dropping, the bookman explained he couldn’t keep it in the store,  that it’s an original paperback and not in … Read more

The Phantom Lady–Best 100 Mysteries Of All Time

The Phantom Lady  William Irish (Cornell Woolrich) 1942 IP I know you’re all thinking, ‘oh no, not HIM again!’ but yes, Woolrich again, and again, and again, because he was that good. I was going to write a review of  I Married a Dead Man until i realized I’d written an article about selling it, … Read more

The Night Has a Thousand Eyes. Best 100 Mysteries of All time


Pulp paperback version who lists Hopley as author, and then claims another Woolrich pen name as the real author.

The Night Has a Thousand EyesGeorge Hopley–(Cornell Woolrich)–1948–IP

Of  the numerous novels of suspense Woolrich has written and I’ve read, The Night Has a Thousand Eyescaused the most tense and angst filled moments. The uneasy

The younger Cornell Woolrich.

reality of a Woolrich novel is the knowledge that the conclusion of the story can go either way. A relentless dark hopeless story can end miraculously, or tragically. The reader is unaware of which will prevail until nearly the last words. The journey to the conclusion can be nerve shattering in intensity. In the instance of this novel, it haunted me, and now that I’m rethinking, it still does. It’s a novel of predestination, of a lack of control over life and death, of hope that ekes along, but barely.

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Black Alibi–Best 100 Mysteries of All Time

Black Alibi Cornell Woolrich–1942–used

The Leopard Man played on Turner Classic Movies yesterday. It’s a must see, again, film. Atmospheric, and in some parts, downright suspenseful and terrifying, it cannot hold a reader’s breath, the way the original source does, Black Alibi. I’ve proclaimed it before, Cornell Woolrich in all his various nom de plumes is my favorite writer, period. Not just favorite crime writer, but writer, of fiction. Yes, that means I like his work more than Dickens, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Poe, Collins, Steinbeck etc.,  ad nauseum. Is he a finer writer? By most standards, probably not. To mine, yes. Because he delivers life at its most frightening, vulnerable, frantic. Hysteria is never far from breaking out in little pustules–here and there–in one of his novels. Fear is attempted to be kept at bay, yet finds its insidious way back into a character’s life, sometimes as an expected guest, others as a stranger wreaking disaster. Black Alibi is a series of  horrific events in separate stories, all part of the larger novel. It begins with U.S. citizens, Jerry Manning, and Kiki Walker finding small success in the South American city of Ciudad Real. Kiki is a headliner entertainer at a local club, and Jerry, her manager. He thinks up a wild idea for publicity, accent on wild. He convinces Kiki to lead a black jaguar into the club for shock and awe, which in turn shocks the jaguar to escape into the night in the city. Each subsequent chapter follows a young woman as she is stalked as prey by what appears to be the missing jaguar. And it’s within these stories Woolrich’s best work is revealed.

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When The Need To Read Dissipates

The gradual or sudden lack of desire to pick up a book and read occurs frequently to me. There’s no discernible reason for it. One day I’m finishing an exciting thriller, the next I can’t find the interest to open my favorite author’s latest book. No specific time of the year, week, or day indicates a … Read more

On The Right Track – Railway Mystery Books

My dad loved model railroading. The HO models–not the big antique things that are so valuable today, such as Lionel etc. He built his own layout in the basement, designed a coal chute, and a bridge that crossed the bottom of the stairs that could be raised for people to enter and leave. He belonged … Read more

Fright. Best 100 Mysteries of All Time

 Fright  George Hopley 1950-IP It’s no secret that I love Cornell Woolrich.  There are several entries on this list of his work. Fright is a latecomer to me. Under the pen name of George Hopley, Woolrich wrote a book that I literally could not put down. I was riveted, horrified, wondering if the protagonist would … Read more

I Never Read a Book Twice!

Do you? Life is too damn short! I need to move on to the next book, then the next, and on and on. To go back and reread something is almost against my religion, or  life force. Unfortunately, since creating my Best Mysteries of All Time list, I’ve had to re-read bits and pieces, and … Read more