Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Downside to Voyeurism

One definite downside to voyeurism (for humans, but not for felines) is seeing more of somebody else's business than you ought.  Suppose, for instance, that you're temporarily an invalid confined to your bedroom. You're bored with sedentary activities like reading and spend your time gazing out at your neighbors' windows from your own bedroom bay window.  See what interesting lives they lead?  But what happens when murder is a neighborly occupation?  What you see could certainly be unhealthy for you, because you might become the murderer's next victim. This is the basic plot in the short story "It Had to Be Murder," by Cornell Woolrich.  First published in 1942, it was later retitled after its movie adaptation--Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954)--and republished in several short story collections, the most popular of which was Rear Window & Other Stories.  Our book trailer borrowed the 1994 edition's book cover, which is still available from booksellers.

MPL Book Trailer #161
Rear Window and Other Stories, by Cornell Woolrich

The short story published in 1942 was quite brief (13 pages in an online PDF version available for free downloading), but Woolrich packed it with considerable suspense and intrigue.  Woolrich's popularity as a genre mystery/suspense writer during the 1930s and 1940s was based upon his talent for keeping readers on the edge of their seats waiting for--and guessing--what would happen next.  The settings and circumstances of some of his material might seem dated today, but Woolrich's mysteries (both novels and short stories) still hold up well from the suspense standpoint.  Check our Evergreen Indiana online catalog for this (and other) Woolrich gems.

Hey, that reminds moi.  Programma Mama and Savvy are hosting the fourth annual October mystery dinners at the Library.  Check here for details.




I Sit in My Rear Window for the Sunshine--Just Saying,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Mystery Stories News Beat


P.S.  Who hasn't seen Alfred Hitchcock's stupendous movie adaptation of Woolrich's short story?  Here's the movie trailer for a re-release (the announcer mentioned Psycho, which was released six years after Rear Window, so it must have been for a re-release in the 1960s).  If you haven't seen the motion picture, stop whatever you're doing and rent a copy from your nearest Evergreen Indiana library (assuming you have an E.I. library card) that has a circulating DVD or VHS.  Whatever else you were doing can certainly wait.


P.P.S.  "Look Through Any Window," by the Hollies, was the group's first American top 40 hit single (1966).  In this video clip, Frankie Avalon introduced the group's performance on the American pop music TV show, Hullabaloo! (1966).


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