From 1934 until his death in 1968, Cornell Woolrich wrote dozens of “tales of love and despair” that chill the heart and display his mastery of the genre he all but created. In a title for a story he never wrote, he captured the essence of his tortured world: “First you dream, then you die.”
Introducing these 13 tales, Nevins describes the dark world Woolrich so vividly creates. “The dominant reality in his world is the Depression, and Woolrich has no peers when it comes to describing a frightened little guy in a tiny apartment with no money, no job, a hungry wife and children, and anxiety eating him like a cancer. If a Woolrich protagonist is in love, the beloved is likely to vanish in such a way that he not only can’t find her but can’t convince anyone she ever existed.”
About the Author
Frances M. Nevins, Jr., a Professor at the St. Louis University School of Law, has received the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Award for criticism.
Martin H. Greenberg is on the faculty of the College of Community Services at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.