Discussion Notes: It Had To Be Murder

Find this week’s story here: It Had To Be Murder by Cornell Woolrich.

Next week’s story: Wildwood by Junot Diaz.

Rated: Clean.

This week all four hosts were disappointed to discover that the story behind the movie Rear Window didn’t pack as much punch as the movie. The movie is better than the literature? Is that a reader cardinal sin to say? Anais found the story a bit too obviously sign-posted in some places, and confusing in others. Meanwhile, Gerald did not appreciate the adverb laden prose. As for Rammy, the lack of tension in the climax was a disappointment. While Maya agreed with these critiques, she still enjoyed the story for what it is: a cozy murder mystery.

Did you enjoy the murder mystery? Was the story suspenseful?

Did miss a crucial piece of this story? Tell us below!

Also, don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate this story? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail.

Also your reviews on iTunes help us grow. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.

2 comments on It Had To Be Murder | Cornell Woolrich | Literary Roadhouse Ep 85

  1. Richard Dennis says:

    Enjoyed the discussion, as usual. Interesting to hear Maya set up a different standard for this work: a detective story, not a literary one. I understand the attraction of that (let’s treat the story for what it is, not trying to make it something that it is not). On the other hand, are there really different standards for fiction? What’s good is good, and I’m not sure I want to reward an author who chooses not to aim high. It seems a bit like saying, “Oh, that was a great movie, for a James Bond thriller.” Hey, I like James Bond movies (most of them) and I always watch them when I see them on TV, but I am not ever going to confuse them with great movies. In a way, this difficulty in evaluation standards plays right into real life. How do we evaluate the work of people from different backgrounds? do we take into account race, gender, age, physical handicaps? I don’t have an easy answer (it’s somewhere between “yes” and “no”) but I feel uncomfortable giving someone a pass too casually.

    Maya, I think you nailed it when you discussed the enduring attraction of the plot of this story. Who hasn’t looked out at a window and seen something that you wondered was something wrong, did something just happen? Do I need to do something or can I just pretend I didn’t see it? it touches on our moral dilemma about whether we should get involved, or just mind our own business.

    And Anais, I just loved your closing. “Homicide-ally complacent mistress in your life”????

    Off topic, but I really want to bring this up. You did a wonderful podcast early on about James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.” Gerald, I think, struggled a bit to get his arms around the peculiarly US racial context of the story. I’ve just seen a new movie called “I Am Not Your Negro,” which is all about Baldwin, and is all in his own words. (if you haven’t read much of Baldwin, he was a brilliant essayist, as well as a first rate writer of fiction). I highly recommend the movie. And wouldn’t mind hearing you take on more of his work in future podcasts.

    Keep up the great work.

    1. It’s so great to see you in the comment section again, Richard! We should definitely revisit Baldwin as per your suggestion.

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