My copy of ‘Laura’ is a feminist press reprint which comes with a very earnest introduction about women writers of pulp fiction (which is interesting, but not really holiday reading) and which definitely kept me off the romance track. It all started very encouragingly with the eponymous heroine being offed courtesy of a sawn off shotgun discharged in her face. (Yes I know it sounds horrible, but any description centres on her green chiffon negligee and silver mules, and it is only fiction.) As her life is slowly unravelled the investigating officer develops something of an obsession for the dead woman, and then one night alone in her flat the whole case changes....(spoilers available on Wikipedia).
With pulp fiction it makes sense that a film version might work better, but I’m currently re reading ‘Persuasion’ and when the film version of that was mentioned in an online book group thread it’s safe to say reaction was violent. If I’d loved ‘Laura’ I would have resented the liberties taken with plot ordering and character, as it was I had to watch the film start to finish, but should it ever matter very much what’s done with a book? It doesn’t change the book, and maybe it’s good to see other people’s interpretations (though naturally if they mess with my vision of how it should be they have it wrong!)
So – ‘Laura’ was okay but not quite what I was hoping for, and I haven’t yet got any more Dorothy B Hughes, so meanwhile it’s back to Raymond Chandler – very reliable and also brilliant on screen adaptations.