Michelle Dean writes about Vera Caspary and her novel “Laura.” She was a “ career girl” avant la lettre and never seems to have pictured or. Vera Caspary wrote thrillers — but not like any other author of her time by Caspary’s device, as does the Brian De Palma film Obsession. Editorial Reviews. Review. “Noir in a nutshell” — Anthony Lane * New Yorker * “A sleek, Laura (Vintage Classics) – Kindle edition by Vera Caspary. Download it.

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Preview — Laura by Vera Caspary.

Laura by Vera Caspary. Laura Hunt was the ideal modern woman: No man could resist her charms—not even the hardboiled NYPD detective sent to find out who turned her into a faceless corpse. Laura won lasting renown as an Academy Award-nominated film, the greatest noir romance of all time. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Lauraplease sign up.

Why does Waldo say that he first met Laura in ’34 on page 12but then mentions going to a show with her in “the fall ’33” on page Does he just have a faulty memory? Fleet Sparrow Because it was serialized and continuity frequently misses in collected versions.

Vrea do Waldo’s fictional books have such odd titles? Kurezan Waldo has a massive ego, and this is reflected caspqry his writing and narration. See all 4 questions about Laura…. Lists with This Book. Jun 12, Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it Shelves: I had never felt anything but respect and tenderness for this brilliant, unhappy friend. And I made myself think of Waldo dutifully; I thought of the years we had known each other and laurra his kindness.

I felt sick within myself, ashamed of hysteria and weak shrinking. I made myself stand firm; I did not pull away; I accepted the embrace as women lwura the caresses of men they dare not hurt. I did not yield, I submitted. I did not soften, I casspary. Her face se been blasted by buckshot, obliterating her loveliness, leaving only the painting on the wall as a memory of her alluring elegance.

It is certainly very personal to shoot someone in the face, but to shoot a lovely woman in the face is somehow a larger crime, a more vicious offense.

Who shot Laura Hunt? Mark McPherson, a Scottish cop, has already made a name for himself as being a man on the upward track. He has recently recovered from being shot, and so not only is he gaining a reputation for being smart and creative, but he has also proven his metal as well. He is thoughtful and oddly vulnerable. A murder case is too simple for what he wants to investigate, but as he starts chasing down leads and hears the lies and the half truths of everyone involved, he starts to become interested.

There is one other complication: He falls in love with Laura, well the painting of Laura. This is her at her absolute best, immortalized with gorgeous eyes and alabaster skin.

Waldo Lydecker is also in love with Laura. I felt nothing, neither shivering repulsion nor answering flame. The lovely Gene Tierney is cast as Laura in the movie.


Laura by Vera Caspary

He helped her get started, and her career has seen a steady climb because of her association with Waldo. She is grateful, but his possessiveness, treating her as if she is a sculpture he formed with his own hands, is becoming a problem.

He is wealthy, successful, an intellectual snob who is completely self-centered.

His alibi for the night of the murder did make me laugh out loud. He was supposed to have dinner with Laura, but she never showed. Maybe it is because he can recognize the finer things in life and express his reverence so eloquently for art, books, and plays.

There is also Shelby Carpenter. One thing that Mark McPherson and Waldo Lydecker can agree on is that he is not the man either one of them would choose for Laura.

Of course, they each feel they are a much better choice than he. Shelby comes from a different world. Laura describes Shelby, showing that she is well aware of his faults: He is an expensive habit, but he is charming and capable of looking very good in a nice suit. Vera Caspary, as you can tell from some of the quotes I shared, has not only written a great noir novel, but also expresses the difficulty that women have in building a career and navigating the uncertain waters of the relationships they must maintain with the men who are helping them.

Vera Caspary

Men rarely do anything without expecting something in return. The interplay with Shelby, Waldo, and Mark, who each want her but want her for different reasons, adds some depth to a plot that was crafty enough not to need such great characterization. Men who help men expect loyalty in return, but men who help women expect compliance.

A woman desired is a woman with caspaey, but that power is built with a shaky foundation too reliant on the changing whims of men. There was a terrific noir film made of this book instarring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews. This is one of my favorite noir films. I watched the movie first and felt that the twist was not only handled well, but was so deliciously shocking.

The characters are all developed with more depth in the book, so there is certainly merit to reading the book as well. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http: View all 27 comments. Director Otto Preminger’s masterpiece is one of the finest mysteries in the history of motion pictures. But that does not detract from how wonderful the story is in novel form. Quite simply, this is one of the finest and most unusual mystery novels ever written.

Caspary used an unique narrative structure to create an atmospheric and involving mystery which has stood the test of time. McPherson has somewhat of a celebrity status within the department due to some front page cases with which he has been involved. But he is unprepared for the high society circles Laura moved in, and Caspary allows the reader to see through the detective’s eyes the affectations of the rich.

It is a world where people begin their insults with endearing terms like darling, then proceed to use words the roughest seaman wouldn’t use to tear you apart. Laura’s benefactor and sometimes companion, Waldo Lydecker, is the poster boy for such behavior.

He uses his well known newspaper column to destroy all of Laura’s would-be suitors. Only the man she was set to marry, Shelby Carpenter, was able to withstand the glare of Lydecker’s poison-pen scrutiny. But on the weekend before she was to be married, a knock on the door late at night, followed by a shotgun blast, cuts her life short.


Waldo Lydecker begins the narration, then McPherson picks up where he left off. It is during McPherson’s narration we get to see events as they really are, bringing about for the reader an understanding of the detective’s thought process and actions so twisted out of context by Lydecker.

Caspery’s descriptions of the encounters between Lydecker and McPherson are splendid. You can almost feel the breeze dw the popular open-air restaurant where they dine and hear vers young woman going from laur to luara singing, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Caspary also allows the reader to feel McPherson’s frustration with the pretty-boy, Shelby Carpenter.

Above all this, however, Caspary paints a picture of Laura that allows us to understand how McPherson has fallen in love with a dead girl, because we have also. Laura could not have been more different than these dde, her inner beauty inspiring loyalty in her working-class maid, Bessie.

McPherson soon begins to wonder how a smart girl like Laura managed to surround herself with such morally empty people, their arrogance and gutter ethics only surpassed by their lack of character.

But Caspery is smart enough to let us see into a woman’s heart as well, and make us understand. On a rainy night in Laura’s swanky 5th Avenue walk-up apartment, while McPherson sits underneath her painting looking through her diary, searching for a clue to her murder, Caspary suddenly turns an already great mystery-romance novel into a caspxry.

We simply can’t put it down at this point. It is vrea fantastic read and stands with a handful of others in the genre as one of the best ever written. It is timeless, as fresh today as it was in This is one book in fera mystery genre you don’t want to miss.

View all 10 comments. Feb 13, Algernon rated it really liked it Shelves: She had a tiny head, delicate for even that thin body, and the tilt of it along with the bright shyness of her slightly oblique dark eyes further contributed to the sense that Bambi – or Bambi’s doe – had escaped from the forest and galloped up the eighteen flights to this apartment.

Laura Hunt had the face of an angel, the kind that makes men weak at the knees and turn them into ad-hoc poets. And yet somebody was driven not to poetry but to murder, blasting that pretty face with a shotgun as she opened the door to her expensive Fifth Avenue apartment one sultry summer evening.

Reluctant detective Mark Macpherson, a rising star in the police department of the metropolis is tasked with finding the murderer, a job he feels is beneath his previous successes dealing with government corruption and organised crime. McPherson must start not only with the careful investigation of the crime scene, but also with interviewing Laura’s closest associates: Most of us are familiar with the story from the Otto Premminger classic movie of the same name.

It’s extremely difficult, after seeing the movie several times, to put any other face on the main character than Gene Tierney, yet the experience of the novel was enhanced and not diminished by the familiarity.