Woolrich, Cornell. Black Alibi. New York: Collier Books, 1942.
Reason read: Woolrich was born in December. This book didn’t come in time to read it during the month of December, but I’m breaking a rule and reading it in January because it is so short. Read over one weekend.
In the South American city of Cuidad Real a glamorous woman enters a trendy, high-profile restaurant with a black panther tenuously tethered to the end of a thin gold leash. For Kiki Walker, an up and coming singer, no publicity stunt is too outrageous even though the big cat and Kiki are equally on edge. It isn’t long before disaster strikes and the panther is sprung free. Of course he is! That’s when the grisly murders begin. Young women in different parts of Cuidad Real are found torn to bits but is the panther to blame? One man doesn’t think so. How does an out of work booking agent clear his panther’s reputation when all evidence points to the cat?
Black Alibi is set in an era when establishments hired people to dust off your shoes or straighten your errant hair and the end is a little hokey but, overall, a very entertaining read.
Lines I liked, “One’s sense can identify one’s aura of sounds at all time” (p 41) and “Pain was a thing between oneself and one’s God” (p 52).
Author fact: Woolrich died in 1965 and according to a bio on the IMDB website, his funeral went unattended. So sad!
Book trivia: this piece of trivia is unique to my book alone. This is my handwriting from when I was in high school and this is definitely something I would do. I am constantly thinking of lyrics and I loved smiley faces back in the day. However, I don’t remember writing this at all. Nor do I ever remember reading this book before. Odd.
Nancy said: “Woolrich’s [people] are anxious and afraid, stuck in a world that is full of shocking and dangerous surprises” (p 66).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Les Crimes Noir” (p 65).