CORNELL WOOLRICH – Rendezvous in Black. Rinehart/Murray Hill, hardcover, 1948. Reprinted several times, including Ace H-57, paperback, [1958]. TV play: Broadcast live on October 18, 1956, as part of the CBS television series, Playhouse 90.

   Johnny Marr’s girl had died before they could get married. Had died in fact while waiting for their usual eight o’clock date, Had died because of bottle carelessly tossed from an airplane. The list of passengers was small, only five names. And a loved one of each of those five men are about to die. Methodically and insanely. Camero, the detective finally assigned to the case, is unable to stop people from being themselves and thus unable to stop the murders.

   What Woolrich lacks in technical aspects of writing is made up for by the ability to tell an engrossing story. The minute details of someone’s actions, the broad delineation of character, almost a burlesque of personality, and the use of conversation to describe action are all overdone.

   The war years are described from a personal point of view, and seem unnatural today. It would be most surprising if this has not been made into a movie; it is standard enough fare.Perhaps Walter Matthau could play Camero, as if the part were written for him

Rating: ***

— May 1968.