Book Review: Laura by Vera Caspary (1943)


The novel Laura tells the story of a young woman named Laura Hunt, who is found murdered in her apartment in New York City. The investigation into her death is led by Detective Mark McPherson, who becomes obsessed with the case and with Laura herself.

As he delves deeper into Laura’s life and the people around her, McPherson begins to uncover a web of secrets and lies. He meets Laura’s wealthy fiancé, Shelby Carpenter, and her best friend, a cold and calculating socialite named Ann Treadwell. He also becomes enamored with Laura through her diary entries and other personal effects found in her apartment.

As McPherson becomes more and more obsessed with Laura, he starts to see her as more than just a victim. He begins to fall in love with her and imagines a life they could have had together. But as the investigation progresses, he also starts to suspect that Laura may not have been the person he thought she was.

The novel is a gripping psychological thriller that explores themes of obsession, betrayal, and the darker side of human nature. It also features a number of unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seat until the very end.

Book Review

Laura by Vera Caspary is a classic mystery novel that has captivated readers for decades. The novel has been adapted into several films, including the iconic 1944 film noir directed by Otto Preminger.

The story is told from multiple perspectives, giving the reader a nuanced view of the characters and their motivations. Detective Mark McPherson, the protagonist, is a complex and flawed character who becomes obsessed with the victim, Laura Hunt. He spends much of the novel unraveling the mystery of her murder and discovering more about her life and relationships.

The character of Laura herself is intriguing and enigmatic. She is initially presented as a successful advertising executive and engaged to a wealthy man, but as the story unfolds, we see that there is much more to her than meets the eye. The supporting characters, including Laura’s fiancé and her best friend, are also well-developed and add depth to the story.

The novel explores the theme of obsession, as Detective Mark McPherson becomes increasingly fixated on Laura and her murder. He spends much of the novel unraveling the mystery of her death and learning more about her life, but his obsession ultimately clouds his judgment and leads him down a dangerous path.

The novel also explores the theme of betrayal, as several characters are revealed to have been keeping secrets or lying to others. Laura’s fiancé, Shelby Carpenter, is shown to be a serial womanizer who has cheated on Laura with her best friend, Ann Treadwell. Ann herself is also revealed to have been keeping secrets from Laura and others.

The novel also touches on the theme of identity, as the characters are not always who they seem to be. Laura, in particular, is shown to be a complex and multifaceted character who is not easily defined by her job or her relationships. The other characters also have hidden depths that are gradually revealed over the course of the novel.

The novel is a masterclass in building tension and suspense. Caspary keeps the reader guessing until the very end, with numerous twists and turns that will leave you on the edge of your seat. The writing is atmospheric and vivid, transporting the reader to the gritty streets of 1940s New York City.

Laura is a must-read for fans of mystery and crime fiction. It’s a timeless classic that still holds up today, with complex characters and a gripping plot that will keep you engaged from start to finish. I highly recommend Laura and you can get a copy from Amazon here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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