Woolrich takes a unique spin on the police procedural by segregating scenes relevant to the crime investigation and that of the victims and perpetrator to create an almost short story like act linked by reoccurring characters. The deliberate separation served to create a sense of time and space between the murderous vixen and her hunter in detective Wanger, allowing the reader to focus more so on the events at hand, rather than the overarching investigation.
'The Bride Wore Black' lacks the poetic prose of other Woolrich novels (notably 'The Night Has A Thousand Eyes') and reads more like a modern day crime novel with a touch of Woolrich trademark noir. 'The Bride Wore Black' is not formulaic nor is it comparable to other novels I've read by Cornell Woolrich. Once the story gets underway it's a case of the unknown - failure and success in equal measure. Luckily, this format worked well and was enjoyable for most of the book.
The plot was simple enough - a women, for means unknown, acquaintances herself with members of the opposite sex only to wriggle her way into their lives for but a moment before snuffing them out. Leaving nothing but a conflicting description for those who see her passing by. The murderess is not without compassion, operating to a killers code rather than blatantly murdering anyone that gets in her way. If an innocent should stumble upon her she warns them off only to return to the task at hand. Her victims are selective. I liked the mystery that surrounds the murderess, her true identity and rationale behind the killings isn't apparent throughout the course of her actions.
The ending was the only downer in 'The Bride Wore Black'. It felt a little too convenient for my liking. It did have an interesting twist at the end which I didn't see coming. That aside, everything else about this was solid. The characters, even those with a short span were given time to develop and establish context to the story while the police equation was well documented and delivered in an interesting manner. If it weren't for the almost hurried ending I would've given this 5 stars. That said, I highly recommend 'The Bride Wore Black' - 3.5 stars.
My review of 'The Night Has A Thousand Eyes' as mentioned in this review can be found on my blog here: http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/review-night-has-thousand-eyes-by.html