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Laura

de Vera Caspary

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4602039,927 (4)2 / 91
Laura Hunt was the ideal modern woman: beautiful, elegant, highly ambitious, and utterly mysterious. No man could resist her charms--not even the hardboiled NYPD detective sent to find out who turned her into a faceless corpse. As this tough cop probes the mystery of Laura's death, he becomes obsessed with her strange power. Soon he realizes he's been seduced by a dead woman--or has he? Laura won lasting renown as an Academy Award-nominated 1944 film, the greatest noir romance of all time. Vera Caspary's equally haunting novel is remarkable for its stylish, hardboiled writing, its electrifying plot twists, and its darkly complex characters--including a woman who stands as the ultimate femme fatale. Femmes Fatales restores to print the best of women's writing in the classic pulp genres of the mid-20th century. From mystery to hard-boiled noir to taboo lesbian romance, these rediscovered queens of pulp offer subversive perspectives on a turbulent era. Enjoy the series:Bedelia;Bunny Lake Is Missing;By Cecile;The G-String Murders;The Girls in 3-B;Laura;The Man Who Loved His Wife;Mother Finds a Body;Now, Voyager;Return to Lesbos;Skyscraper;Stranger on Lesbos;Stella Dallas;Women's Barracks.… (més)

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Es mostren 1-5 de 20 (següent | mostra-les totes)
If you are familiar with the film version of this novel, then you know the story. The film is pretty faithful, although the afterword of the Femmes Fatales publication provides an interesting account of how the author disagreed with the director on certain decisions he made. What interested me in reading this was the insight into Laura's character, particularly found in the section that is written in her voice, which was the best part of the novel, in my opinion. She is not a femme fatale as we may think of that stereotype, but rather a woman who believes in independence as achieved through work, and a woman who can take a frank look at herself and see her own flaws and mistakes, but also who knows what she wants from life and doesn't apologize for it. Her character was more in-depth and multilayered than I was expecting, and it elevates this novel above mere pulp noir. ( )
  sturlington | Jul 7, 2020 |
Basis for the movie Laura, the book is written in three voices--Waldo, Mark McPherson, and Laura. Each has their own point of view on the people and actions that occur.

I enjoyed the book. It is different from the movie but the basics are there. Of course, you get a deeper feel for the people and the actions in the book because you get the thought processes that are not available in the book. Waldo is a piece of work. I'm glad Laura finally sees through him and Shelby, her fiancé. Mark finally figures it all out and comes to the rescue. This really give a sense of time and place. A piece of noir. Still worth reading. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Mar 8, 2020 |
Got to page 96.
  bogopea | Sep 9, 2018 |
Perhaps if I hadn't seen the wonderful 1944 movie adaptation, I would have given this the full 5*. Even knowing the solution, this is a great mystery novel. ( )
  leslie.98 | Nov 24, 2017 |
Unlike many reviewers, I haven’t seen the famous Otto Preminger movie although I had heard of it so I went in blind and that’s the best way to experience this book because of an unexpected event that happens relatively early on. I won’t call it a twist because I don’t think it is, but it mirrors events in the book and we are deceived.

The story is set up by Waldo Lydecker, a scathingly witty writer who is Laura’s mentor and a fabulously fussy queen. If you don’t believe me, behold - “...I unscrewed the carnelian cap of the silver box in which I keep my saccharine tablets. Although I spread butter lavishly on my brioches, I cling religiously to the belief that the substitution of saccharine for sugar in coffee will make me slender and fascinating.”

In this scene he’s indulging Detective Mark McPherson who has been assigned to investigate Laura’s murder. Mark questions, Waldo answers, but Waldo seems to feel that he is the one controlling the conversation. They meet several times and the popular subject of their talk is Shelby Carpenter; Laura’s fiancee. Those three men and their question, lies and subterfuges make up the first part of the book. Then there’s Laura’s diary which I have to say had some of the best lines and passages about her relationship with Shelby.

“I had used him as women use men to complete the design of a full life, playing at love for the gratification of my vanity, wearing him proudly as a successful prostitute wears her silver foxes to tell the world she owns a man. Going on thirty and unmarried, I had become alarmed. Pretending to love him and playing the mother game, I bought him an extravagant cigarette case, fourteen-karat gold, as a man might buy his wife an orchid or a diamond to expiate infidelity.

And now that tragedy has wiped away all the glib excuses, I see that our love was as bare of real passion as the mating of two choice vegetables which are to be combined for the purpose of producing a profitable new item for the markets. It was like love in the movies; contrived and opportune. And now it was over.

Two strangers sat at opposite ends of the couch. We tried to find words that had the same meaning for both of us.”

It’s a pretty wonderful summation of the illusion of having it all. Laura is a successful career woman and already she is inadequate and incomplete. A man in her position, for example her fiance, wouldn’t be thought of the same way. His remaining a bachelor would make him seems sensible, desirable and mysterious. But when a woman does it, she’s made to feel small and defective.

That cigarette case is a pivotal prop in the story although it’s not used in a way many crime writers would use it. To say more would be to give away too much. In the end the manipulator becomes the manipulated and there’s a pretty nice take-down scene. Just prior there is a terrific moment where a seemingly kind and gentle character turns sinister in just a few paragraphs. It’s a light touch and it works beautifully to make you feel unease. Bravo! ( )
6 vota Bookmarque | Jul 29, 2016 |
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Sitting at my desk, pen in hand, I treasured the sense that among those millions, only I, Waldo Lydecker, was up and doing.
There are a lot of people who haven't got the brains for their college educations." The comment, while uttered honestly, was tinged faintly with the verdigris of envy. "The trouble is that they've been brought up with ideas of class and education so they can't relax and work in common jobs. There are plenty of fellows in these fancy offices who'd be a lot happier working in filling stations.
... the magnificence of my skeleton is hidden by the weight of my flesh.
Come, now, what of the girlfriend?" I pleaded.
He answered dryly: "I've had plenty in my life. I'm no angel."
"Ever loved one?"
"A doll in Washington Heights got a fox fur out of me. And I'm a Scotsman, Mr. Lydecker. So make what you want of it."
"In detective stories, there are two kinds, the hardboiled ones who are always drunk and talk out of the corners of their mouths and do it all by instinct; and the cold, dry, scientific kind who split hairs under a microscope."
"Which do you prefer?"
"Neither," she said. "I don't like people who make their livings out of spying and poking into people's lives. Detectives aren't heroes to me, they're detestable."
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

Laura Hunt was the ideal modern woman: beautiful, elegant, highly ambitious, and utterly mysterious. No man could resist her charms--not even the hardboiled NYPD detective sent to find out who turned her into a faceless corpse. As this tough cop probes the mystery of Laura's death, he becomes obsessed with her strange power. Soon he realizes he's been seduced by a dead woman--or has he? Laura won lasting renown as an Academy Award-nominated 1944 film, the greatest noir romance of all time. Vera Caspary's equally haunting novel is remarkable for its stylish, hardboiled writing, its electrifying plot twists, and its darkly complex characters--including a woman who stands as the ultimate femme fatale. Femmes Fatales restores to print the best of women's writing in the classic pulp genres of the mid-20th century. From mystery to hard-boiled noir to taboo lesbian romance, these rediscovered queens of pulp offer subversive perspectives on a turbulent era. Enjoy the series:Bedelia;Bunny Lake Is Missing;By Cecile;The G-String Murders;The Girls in 3-B;Laura;The Man Who Loved His Wife;Mother Finds a Body;Now, Voyager;Return to Lesbos;Skyscraper;Stranger on Lesbos;Stella Dallas;Women's Barracks.

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