Bad Love again

Cornel Woolrich’s The Black Angel is an interesting example of how a good book can suffer from the passage of time (though in a different way from Spy Who Came in From the Cold) and the way our concept of love changes.
The book is a mirror image of Woolrich’s
The Bride Wore Black. In that book, a woman hunts down the men she blames for killing her husband. In this one, the protagonist’s husband is convicted of murdering his lover and the woman hunts down four men who knew her, one of whom may be the killer (a plot Woolrich used in an earlier short story, Murder in Wax).
It’s a very well-written book, better so than Bride, but I have a real problem with the premise. If TYG were going to leave me for another man, I seriously doubt I’d move heaven and hell to clear her of murdering, or that my first thought on discovering the corpse would be to warn her she might be a suspect.
The 1946 book is rooted in a time when straying, if not exactly approved, was What Guys Did, and it wasn’t ground for divorce, it was grounds for loving him and waiting patiently for him to get it out of his system (divorce in New York back then would have been hard to get). It’s like being a sports widow, something a woman just has to roll with.
Today, that’s a lot harder to swallow. It didn’t stop me liking the book, but I can’t help thinking she should have just let him hang (Murder in Wax, in which the woman is the killer, makes more sense)


Filed under Reading, Writing

3 responses to “Bad Love again

  1. Pingback: Movies and books, but not much of either | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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