Best 1943 Adventures (1)
June 8, 2018
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1943 adventure novels. Happy 75th anniversary!
Vera Caspary‘s mystery-romance thriller Laura.
Mark Macpherson, a rising star in New York’s police department, is offended when he’s reassigned from fighting organized crime to solving the murder of Laura Hunt, a successful advertising exec… but as he gazes at a portrait of her, and reads her rags-to-riches diary, he begins to fall in love with her. So who shot Laura in the face with a shotgun? Was it marketing executive Shelby Carpenter, the victim’s unfaithful fiancé? Several characters narrate the novel, including Laura’s former lover, the narcissistic author, socialite, and newspaper critic Waldo Lydecker; and a stenographic record of a statement to the police by a man who was with the victim right before she died. There is a big plot twist. What Macpherson ultimately discovers is that high-society New York is much more corrupt, amoral, and brutal than the Gotham he’s been policing… and that a smart, strong woman trying to get ahead in a man’s world is playing a dangerous game.
Fun facts: Originally serialized in Colliers from October to November 1942. Laura was adapted by Otto Preminger in 1944; the movie, starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews, has been called the greatest noir romance.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.