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I married a dead man by Cornell Woolrich

I married a dead man (original 1948; edition 1982)

by Cornell Woolrich

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3401576,892 (3.85)29
Cornell Woolrich is at his best here in this well-paced novel of identity, second chances, and a past that refuses to go away. With a fine new introduction, new cover art by Matt Mahurin, and a gallery of old paperback and hardcover editions and film posters.
Title:I married a dead man
Authors:Cornell Woolrich
Info:New York : Ballantine Books, 1983, c 1982.
Collections:Your library

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I Married a Dead Man by Cornell Woolrich (1948)


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I would have to term this one, as mentioned in the edition of the book I have, a Soap Opera noir. Even for Woolrich, this was an unusual work of suspense. For those who've read a lot of the great author's work it is fabulous, but others may have some difficulty getting into the style and flow. Once they do, they're hooked, but it can be jarring if you're used to the modern - and mundane - type of storytelling.

Woolrich places the reader into the mind of someone and you feel and experience the world and the situation from her perspective, as she takes the place of another and lives in fear. It is like an old-time melodrama where the tension is sustained throughout the narrative. Rich with moral complexity and psychology, Woolrich adds fabulous little moments of insight. One such moment occurs when the girl in question is called to supper. It floods her heart with a feeling of acceptance, because supper is a term used informally, with family; only when we dine with others, or go out in the evening, does it become dinner.

The premise is simple, the execution extremely difficult. Perhaps only Woolrich could have written something like this and made it work. A mesmerizing read for Woolrich fans, but most definitely not the book I'd recommend as your first exposure to this great author, who in my opinion, eclipsed all others of suspense. Definitely give The Bride Wore Black a read first, and though it's longer, Deadline at Dawn, which I consider to be Woolrich at his finest, before tackling I Married a Dead Man. This one is a type of masterpiece to be sure, but a bit less accessible than the aforementioned. Not for all tastes. ( )
  Matt_Ransom | Oct 6, 2023 |
Hardly believable; a married couple is killed in a train wreck, and because she had put on the married woman's ring while she was washing her hands, the survivor is taken for the married woman. Didn't they check dental records in the 1920s? ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
I don’t know how I never heard of the author Cornell Woolrich (William Irish one of his pseudonyms) until I stumbled across this book. This may be one of the best books I have ever read in my life. The writing style, the absolute engagement the reader has with the main character, and the suspense, which was masterfully handled. An absolutely phenomenal read. ( )
  luke66 | Oct 22, 2022 |
What a wonderful break! If you're just a tad worn down by literary pretentiousness, this a book for you. Cornell Woolrich's "I Married a Dead Man" is the perfect potion to clear your literary palate. This noir classic is straightforward, compelling, and very entertaining. It should come as no surprise that the book has been made into a movie, twice. A glimpse into an earlier era when things were simpler, or not. Unless your literary nose is to far up in the air, this is a fast and fun read. ( )
  colligan | Oct 18, 2022 |
Great title Woolrich yarn. kinda comic in it's over the top style. not really a page turner in that i'd look forward to it being over, but i do admire his unabashed / bold style. ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
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The summer nights are so pleasant in Caulfield.
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Cornell Woolrich is at his best here in this well-paced novel of identity, second chances, and a past that refuses to go away. With a fine new introduction, new cover art by Matt Mahurin, and a gallery of old paperback and hardcover editions and film posters.

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