by Cornell Woolrich
“The really clever woman is all things to all men.”
Based on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies (or is it the other way around?), The Bride Wore Black is a dark mystery novel of revenge with an atypical femme fatale. This time, instead of the monstrously attractive woman wrangling the wills of men to do her murderous bidding, she’s out there in the world herself, striking at everyone on her list and killing them one by one while the police remain baffled and helpless.
What’s so cool about this is not only an iron-willed, unstoppable woman tearing her way through a line of men, or that a great deal of the story takes place from the perspective of the police who are resistant to believing the murders are even linked, but that for once a justification is implied but kept secret. Completely different descriptions of possible female suspects are given at each crime scene, with no link between the victims, so the reader is left with an impression there’s some kind of Angel of Death stalking the world while being ignored by authorities–except one detective who’s desperately trying to put the pieces together.
This is a fantastic book, published in 1940, that gives us an incredible, almost supernatural female killer whose motives aren’t explained throughout most of the story, which only adds to her power and mystique. Noir fans, crime fans, story fans, this is a must read.
Cornell Woolrich, you’ve made my list, buddy.
“Julie, what can I say to you?”
“Just ‘goodbye.’ What else is there to say to anyone ever in this life?”