Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Black Angel

The Black AngelThe Black Angel by Cornell Woolrich
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Alberta Murray is convinced her husband is having an affair. Imagine her shock when her husband is arrested for his mistress's murder! Alberta happened upon the crime scene before the police and the only clue is a matchbook with the letter M embossed on the cover. She pilfers the victim's address book and starts going down the M's one by one. Can she find the killer before her husband is executed?

My problems with this book started with the premise. If a woman found out her husband was cheating on her and the police thought he killed his mistress, would she go to such great lengths to clear him? Somehow I doubt it. I know I wouldn't in her place.

Despite my initial misgivings, I liked the story. Alberta went up against some interesting characters: the mistress's ex husband who had degenerated to a drunk in the Bowery, a drug pusher, a lady's man, and a gangster. Too bad the story dragged on a bit. If it would have been 150 pages, it would have been perfect. Instead, it felt bloated.

The ending was a little on the weak side. After the Bride Wore Black, I was hoping Woolrich would sucker punch me with the revelation that the husband did it all along and Alberta had gone through hell for nothing. The ending wasn't bad but wasn't as good as I was hoping for. After three of his books, I'm convinced Woolrich was a misogynist. All of his female characters are either whores, psychopaths, or doormats.

I'm giving this a 2.5. It was on the good side of okay but I didn't really think it was a good book.

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