Monday, 2 December 2019

Day 2 - My Xmas Month Countdown - A Book and a Song

Yesterday you had my Day 1 selections from my Top 25 songs on my USB and from my Top 25 reading choices of 2019. So let's move on to Day 2

Book 24

Cornell Woolrich
Rear Window and Four Short Novels by Cornell Woolrich.

Cornell Woolrich was born in New York City in 1903 and lived until 1968. He was both a novelist and short story writer. His biographer rated him the 4th best crime writer of his day, after Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler. He wrote such novels as The Bride Wore Black and I Married a Dead Man, amongst many others. My first exposure to his work was Rear Window and Four Short Novels, all excellent stories. Of course, Rear Window was turned into one of my favorite movies by Alfred Hitchcock.

"Rear Window And Four Short Novels is my first exposure to the noir writing of Cornell Woolrich. I had been looking for The Bride Wore Black when I found this collection of short novels. All in all it was excellent.

The 5 novels are Rear Window (turned into the excellent movie by Alfred Hitchcock), Post-Mortem, Three O'Clock, Change of Murder and Momentum. All were used by Hitchcock, in some form or other, the movie I mentioned and episodes for his TV series for the others. I think my favorite was Three O'Clock, my least favorite, Momentum. But I enjoyed them all.

Rear Window is familiar to most. Alfred Hitchcock obviously fleshed out the story. There are no Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter in the book. Instead, he has a man who comes in each day to cook meals. Sam plays both roles, dropping off the letter to Thorwald and then entering the flat later to find any clues. Less of a role is also played by the various neighbors. They are really mentioned only in passing. But the tension is there, built up very nicely in a short period of time. I think it was as good as the movie in it own right, and that is saying something considering how much I love the movie.

Post Mortem is nice little story. Mrs. Mead discovers that her dead husband had purchased an Irish Sweepstakes ticket on her behalf and it turns out to have been a winner. Now to find it. Her current husband helps her look for it but when it turns out that it is probably buried with him in his suit, new hubby turns cold to the idea about exhuming the corpse to find it. Who is the strange man who shows up, trying to help Mrs. Mead? It's a neat little story with a couple of twists and with a neat ending, albeit somewhat confusing.

Three O'Clock features a husband who believes his wife is cheating on him. He decides to get his revenge by setting up a bomb in the basement to kill her when she returns home. But things don't turn out quite as he planned. Excellent short story, with building tension until the exciting climax at the end as 3 o'clock approaches. As always, an excellent twist at the end, in fact, almost a double twist.

Change of Murder features a hit man who wants to kill the man who took his wife from him while he was in prison. He pays for an alibi in advance, but has a change of heart. The consequences of these actions make for a neat ending.

In Momentum, a man goes to his ex-boss to get his overdo pay to prevent his wife and he being thrown out onto the street. This leads to a disastrous chain of events that while predictable to me, still made for an excellent story.

All in all, I enjoyed Woolrich's story-telling and writing style very much. Short stories can be hit or miss but these were 'hit'. Woolrich displayed the ability to get right into a story, developing and building tension quickly and coming up with neat, tidy endings. (4 stars)"

Song 24


Dermot Kennedy
Dermot Kennedy - Outnumbered



Dermot Kennedy is an Irish singer / songwriter. His debut album Without Fear was released in 2019 which produced his most successful single Outnumbered. He cites artists such as David Gray and Damien Rice as inspirations for his folk style. Kennedy says that Outnumbered is an attempt to comfort anybody feeling overwhelmed. Nice sentiment.

I hope you enjoy both of these selections. See you tomorrow!

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