Browsing the fiction stacks at the local library, I stumbled on this collection of 1940s era crime novels by female authors. They are interesting products of their time, each story focused deeply on the inner life of the characters, and two of them told from the point of view of the criminal. World War II is a backdrop. Some characters are veterans, others are coping with the challenges of gas and food rationing, a thing I had forgotten about that complicated people’s lives at that time. In “Laura,” author Vera Caspary uses multiple viewpoints and a surprising twist on the mistaken-identity trope for a very satisfying read. In “The Blank Wall,” Elisabeth Sanxay Holding presents a morality tale where a criminal’s behavior has more to recommend it than the morally upright mother of two around whom the action swirls. I’m glad to know these authors and these stories. I like being aware of how narratives shift as culture shifts. Thanks Sarah Weinman for pulling these stories together. Weinman, whose web site is a great compendium of crime stories, has another anthology of ’50s-era novels that is also on my list.
03 Friday Dec 2021
Posted Retro reads, Story, writingin