- Copertina rigida: 291 pagine
- Editore: Ibooks; New edition edizione (20 agosto 2001)
- Collana: Definitive Series
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0743423739
- ISBN-13: 978-0743423731
- Peso di spedizione: 272 g
Phantom Lady (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 20 ago 2001
Cornell Woolrich, along with Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain, was one of the creators of the noir genre. He is the author of many seminal works including REAR WINDOW, the basis of the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly.
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Scott Henderson is a condemned man. Time is of the essence. His wife, a victim of apparent foul play; yet Henderson maintains his innocence. All clues point to him, and now he awaits his death sentence. A woman who he was with could prove an alibi, but where is she? She’s a phantom: no one knows her, no one has seen her. It’s as if she has literally become invisible.
Above all things, I think Phantom Lady is an effective mystery in that it excels in holding us in suspense for the majority of the plot. Part of the mystery is uncovering bits and pieces that could possibly give credibility to Henderson’s case, but there is also a bit of a mystery figuring out why everyone involved is so hush-hush about this ill-fated night. As we get further into the case, and as Henderson awaits the days until his execution, Woolrich pushes us closer with hints and clues, careful not to reveal too much. Moreover, there is an unexpected event, a twist that definitely threw me for a loop.
Phantom Lady is my first read from Cornell Woolrich, and it won’t be my last. Woolrich has a way of putting the average individual in very dark and seemingly unmanageable situations, and then we see if they can worm their way out. There is an aura of fatalism that seems to grip the narrative as well, something that reminded me a bit of a David Goodis work.
If there is one knock on Phantom Lady, it is the meticulously detail by detail explanation in the conclusion (after the final big reveal). We are beat over the head ad nauseum with how it went down.
Other than that, I was very impressed with Phantom Lady, and looking forwards to more reads from Woolrich.
In many ways, Phantom Lady is the quintessential Cornell Woolrich novel. Not only is the overall storyline highly suspenseful, many of the individual chapters are richly suspense-laden in and of themselves. As always, Woolrich's exquisite command of the English language makes for cleverly evocative descriptions.
Unfortunately, as is often the case in Woolrich's fiction, there is an almost willful disregard for plausibility. Minor holes in the plot can be forgiven when the writing is otherwise strong. But in the case of Phantom Lady, the explanation of the underlying mystery is so preposterous, Woolrich's considerable storytelling skill proves only partially redemptive. Three stars.