13 March 2008

The Black Angel is returning

“Good News” and “Cornell Woolrich” are terms that rarely co-habitate. But I can now say without any irony that there’s some good news about Cornell Woolrich.

Yesterday I wrote an email to Pegasus Books, the independent publisher that last year released trade paperbacks of Manhattan Love Song (its first paperback printing ever) and Night Has a Thousand Eyes. I was curious if Pegasus planned to do more from my favorite American author, and offered my suggestions for which books I thought were the most overdue for new printings.

I got a response back in the evening that, indeed, Pegasus will be releasing a new Woolrich edition in December of this year… and it happens to be one of my top two suggestions, The Black Angel. This is the favorite Woolrich book of Francis M. Nevins, the advisor to the author’s estate and author of Woolrich’s biography, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a hand in pushing this title. I don’t adore The Black Angel as much as Mr. Nevins does—I place Rendezvous in Black, Night Has a Thousand Eyes, and Black Alibi (my other choice for re-publication) above it—but it’s a classic roman noir and shows Woolrich operating at or near the top of his game. It also led to one of the greatest film adaptations of any of the author’s work, which is now available DVD.

And, come December, you won’t have any excuse not to read it. Let’s hope that Black Alibi is around the corner somewhere, lurking with bared claws and slavering fangs.

(Now, would some enterprising DVD company please release The Window, the riveting adaptation of the story “The Boy Cried Murder”/“Fire Escape.”)

Update: The book is now available for pre-order, but the date has gotten pushed back January 20th.