In the doorway of an elegant New York apartment, blood seeps over silk negligee, over polished wood floors and plush carpet: a beautiful young woman lies dead, her face disfigured by a single gun shot. How does her portrait bewitch even Mark McPherson, the hard-bitten detective assigned to find her murderer?
Vera Caspary was born in November 1899 in Chicago. Her working life began as a stenographer at a Chicago advertising agency, but she was determined to become a copywriter, and despite many setbacks in a male-dominated business, she eventually achieved her aim in 1920. She then moved to New York to write for magazines, and also began writing stories which drew on her experiences as an independent, career-minded modern woman. Caspary wrote twenty-one novels in total, including Bedelia (1945) and Stranger than Truth (1946), but Laura was her first major success. Published in 1943, it was adapted for the big screen just one year later by Otto Preminger. The film version is still feted as a classic early noir and its theme tune has become a jazz standard. Caspary also wrote several successful screenplays, and received a Screen Writers Guild Award in 1957. In 1949 Caspary married the producer Isadore Goldsmith after a long-standing affair. She was hounded by the McCarthy witchhunts for her communist leanings, and published an autobiography, The Secrets of Grown-ups in 1976. Vera Caspary died in June 1987.