Vera Caspary

Franklin Library Vera Caspary books

Laura - Library of Mystery Masterpieces - 1989

Author Vera Caspary

Vera Caspary, born on November 13, 1899, in Chicago, Illinois, was an American author and screenwriter known for her contributions to the mystery and crime fiction genres. Her works, marked by strong female protagonists and intricate plots, left a lasting impact on literature and cinema during the mid-20th century. Caspary's early life was shaped by her passion for writing, and she attended the Lewis Institute in Chicago, where she honed her literary skills. Her debut novel, The White Girl (1929), introduced readers to her talent for storytelling. However, it was with her foray into mystery writing that Caspary gained widespread recognition.

One of Caspary's most famous works is the novel Laura (1943), a psychological thriller that became a bestseller and was adapted into a successful film directed by Otto Preminger in 1944. Laura is celebrated for its innovative narrative structure and the compelling character of Laura Hunt, a murder victim whose story is told through multiple perspectives. Throughout her career, Caspary continued to write novels, short stories, and plays, often exploring themes of crime, deception, and the complexities of human relationships. Her novel Bedelia (1945) also received cinematic adaptation, solidifying her reputation as a master of suspense.

In addition to her success in literature, Caspary ventured into screenwriting. She contributed to the scripts of films such as A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and Les Girls (1957). Her ability to craft engaging narratives with strong female characters translated well to the silver screen. Caspary was known not only for her writing but also for her involvement in political and social issues. She was an advocate for civil liberties and expressed her political views through her work and public engagements.

Vera Caspary passed away on June 13, 1987, leaving behind a legacy of influential contributions to both literature and film. Her novels continue to be appreciated for their intriguing plots, well-drawn characters, and exploration of the complexities of the human psyche within the context of mystery and suspense.


"I am bound to tell this story, just as Mark McPherson was obliged to continue his searches, out of a deep emotional involvement in the case of Laura Hunt. I offer the narrative, not so much as a detective yarn as a love story..."

This is Laura's book, although most of it is told by three men the three men who knew her best. When the story opens, Laura has already been murdered.

Some of it is told by that nasty gossip columnist, Waldo Lydecker, written partly out of gloating interest in tragedy of any kind, partly because Laura was the only person Waldo had ever loved.

And it could not have been written without the help of Shelby Carpenter, Laura's fiance, who knew more about her death than anyone suspected.

Most of it, however, was written by Detective Mark McPherson, although Mark never heard of Laura until after she had been murdered. Often a detective's duty is to reconstruct the life of a victim but not to the point where he falls in love with her.

Here is the secret of Laura's death...and her life.


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