The story begins with Waldo Lydecker expresses his thoughts and feelings of grief at losing Laura but interrupted by a surprise visit of Mack McPherson, the detective that is assigned to investigate the murder case.
Laura's housekeeper comes to work one Saturday morning, opens the door, and finds Laura lying on the floor, dead from a shotgun blast. McPherson is entranced by the portrait of Laura that hangs in the living room of her home, and the more he learns about the victim, the more his feelings for her grow. Before long, he is investigating the murder by day and hanging around her home at night, inhaling the lingering scent of Laura's perfume. Through him we meet the people in Laura’s life, most importantly her friend and mentor Waldo Lydecker, and her fiancé Shelby Carpenter.
Both Waldo and Shelby are in love with Laura. Waldo is a columnist who helped Laura to build her career because of her association with him. Shelby is a playboy who comes from a different world. His ambition is to find a woman to take care of him.
"There are a lot of people who haven’t got the brains for their education.” The comment, while uttered honestly, was tinged faintly with the verdigris of envy. “The trouble is that they’ve been brought up with ideas of class and education so they can’t relax and work in common jobs. There are plenty of fellows in these fancy offices who’d be a lot happier working in filling stations."
So, who is Laura? Why she plays such an important role in their life? She seems like a goddess to Waldo and Shelby, then why she is murdered? When Mack is finding some leads in her apartment, he falls asleep in a chair. Later, when he awakes by the noise of someone entering the apartment, he realises it is the woman whose death he is investigating. Is Laura still alive or it's just a hallucination?
“It’s when you have friends that you can afford to be lonely. When you know a lot of people, loneliness becomes a luxury. It’s only when you’re forced to be lonely that it’s bad,” I said.
This classic mystery novel is brilliantly written. The author is able to convince the readers to believe someone is the murderer and everyone is a suspect. You won't be able to get the killer right unless you finish reading the story. The plot is absorbing and the readers can't stop reading to find out who is the killer.
Frightened people try to defend themselves by accusing others of their own motives.
I can't remember when was the last time that I finished a book within two days. It never happened to me if I read a classic novel. I always struggle to understand classic stories but I really enjoyed this novel and the story is not too difficult for me. I enjoyed reading this much more than 'The Big Sleep' by Raymond Chandler. Sorry to the fans of Raymond Chandler, it's just me that haven't reach to the level to understand his writing style.
When a man goes so far below the belt, you can be sure he’s hiding his own weakness.
More reviews can be found on Goodreads: Laura.