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The Black Path of Fear Paperback – July 12, 1982

3.6 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ballantine Books (July 12, 1982)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 160 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0345304888
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0345304889
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.52 ounces
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.6 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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George Hopley-Woolrich (4 December 1903 – 25 September 1968) is one of America’s best crime and noir writers who sometimes wrote under the pseudonyms William Irish and George Hopley. He’s often compared to other celebrated crime writers of his day, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler.

Born in New York City, his parents separated when he was young and he lived in Mexico for nearly a decade with his father before returning to New York City to live with his mother, Claire Attalie Woolrich.

He attended New York’s Columbia University but left school in 1926 without graduating when his first novel, “Cover Charge”, was published. “Cover Charge” was one of six of his novels that he credits as inspired by the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Woolrich soon turned to pulp and detective fiction, often published under his pseudonyms. His best known story today is his 1942 “It Had to be Murder” for the simple reason that it was adapted into the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie “Rear Window” starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. It was remade as a television film by Christopher Reeve in 1998.

Woolrich was a homosexual but in 1930, while working as a screenwriter in Los Angeles, he married Violet Virginia Blackton (1910-65), daughter of silent film producer J. Stuart Blackton. They separated after three months and the marriage was annulled in 1933.

Woolrich returned to new York where he and his mother moved into the Hotel Marseilles (Broadway and West 102nd Street). He lived there until her death on October 6, 1957, which prompted his move to the Hotel Franconia (20 West 72nd Street). In later years he socialized on occasion in Manhattan but alcoholism and an amputated leg, caused by an infection from wearing a shoe too tight which he left untreated, turned him into a recluse. Thus, he did not attend the New York premiere of Truffaut’s film based on his novel “The Bride Wore Black” in 1968 and, shortly thereafter, died weighing only 89 pounds. He is interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

Woolrich bequeathed his estate to Columbia University to endow scholarships in his mother’s memory for journalism students.

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