Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cornell Woolrich

I read my first Cornell Woolrich Story this weekend. It was a short story in an EQMM from 1962 that someone got for me. The story won a $1500 prize which I can only imagine was major dough in 1962. Not too bad now.

Anyway, here's the problem -- I think I found a plot hole and it's one of those big gaping ones that can sink an entire story. I loved the writing, but on the last page as the detective reveals to the killer how it is that he figured it all out (and how this one crucial piece of evidence means the gas chamber, etc) I just can't see how that works. The story is called "One Drop of Blood" and that names the piece of evidence in question. The detective finds it, but I honestly don't see how it helps him in the slightest -- I mean, if I were the killer, I would have shrugged or yawned at this particular reveal. If anyone knows the story and can set me straight, please, please, please, do so. Otherwise, where do I go to report that Cornell Wollrich made a boo-boo? Is there a form, maybe?


Blogger New Hope Writer said...

Steven, I love to dig into things like this (alleged plot holes). Where can I access this story?

Perhaps you could report this to the Guinness Book of World Records. It might qualify as "World's Biggest/Worst/Most Horrifyingly Gaping Plot Hole."

Also, by the way, I'm stunned to find a mystery writer who admits to being a real, live, Bible reading Christian. Doesn't seem very popular in our ranks. I became a Christian in 1989 at the ripe old age of 42 but haven't come out of the closet over that yet amongst the crime crowd; I'm afraid John Rickards would ban me from his blog :-) :-) Or at least tease me a bit ;-)

I have been to your Bible blog, and I have enjoyed your thoughts there, too.

-- Connie
("New Hope" is the name of the town I live in, on the Delaware River in Pennsylvania.)

October 06, 2005 11:46 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

About accessing the Woolrich story, I'm not sure. I got it serendipitously -- a friend was in a used bookstore a couple of states away (Vermont, I think) and found the Ellery Queen April 1962 issue for a quarter and bought it for me. I know it is also in a collection of EQMM prize winning stories, but I can't recall the name of it - it would have been published in the 70s, I think.

As for Christianity, no need to be stunned; I'm sure there are many. Nevada Barr has written a book about her spiritual journey -- not that I can recall the title, but it exists and I own it.

As for Rickards, no need to worry about him. It's my understanding he likes Christians. Something about the meat being more tender than Buddhists.

You also don't need to worry about coming out of the closet (as a Christian or otherwise) on this blog. I'm amazed anyone's found it since I've done precious little to advertise it. How did you get here?

October 07, 2005 11:00 PM  
Blogger Graham said...

A plot hole in a Woolrich story? Say it ain't so!

Actually, for Woolrich that's a pretty tightly plotted story. And if it was published in 1962 it's most likely a reprint - he wrote very little new material after 1960.

I just found a recent Woolrich collection, NIGHT AND FEAR, remaindered for $5. If you liked the story you might check it out.

October 27, 2005 3:18 PM  
Blogger Tribe said...

Steve, Woolrich was famous for things like this, and he wasn't the only one...guys like Jim Thompson and David Goodis would pull boners like this all the time.

Pa'lante como un elefante!


October 28, 2005 3:34 PM  
Blogger Jason Boog said...

My name is Jason Boog, a writer living in New York City. I recently published a short podcast about visiting the place where Cornell Woolrich died.

After reading your Woolrich post, I thought you might be interested in the link. Woolrich's biography is just as interesting as his covoluted plots!

Jason Boog

January 06, 2006 11:48 AM  

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