The six novels of Cornell Woolrich's famous Black SeriesThe Bride Wore Black (1940), The Black Curtain (1941), Black Alibi (1942), The Black Angel (1943), The Black Path of Fear (1944) and Rendezvous in Black (1948)are the pinnacle of the era's noir crime fiction writing. At a time when the world was embroiled in war, crime fiction like Woolrich's provided an escape from the horrors of the real world into horrors of a more artistic kind. As such, Woolrich carefully crafted each of these novels to instill a deep and overwhelming sense of dread in both his characters and in the reader. Fear of the dark, fear of unseen forces, and fear of forces outside one's control dominate these nail-biting suspense thrillers for which the author is so well known.
In Volume I of the Black Series, three distinct female protagonists brave the dark worlds of Black Alibi, The Black Angel and The Bride Wore Black. Black Alibi, expanded from an earlier short story entitled "The Street of Jungle Death," pits a rising singer against the dangers of an escaped jungle cat in the South American city of Ciudad Real, a beast who may or may not be responsible for the brutal deaths that keep occurring around the city. The avenging angel of The Black Angel must race against time to prove that her convicted husband did not murder his mistress. This plotline was expanded from two of Woolrich's earlier short stories, "Murder in Wax" and "Face Work." And finally, The Bride Wore Black, arguably Woolrich's most famous novel, is a revenge story for the ages. The titular Woman goes on a well thought out and perfectly executed rampage against the men who she believes were responsible for the untimely death of her husband on their wedding day.
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