Cornell Woolrich is closely linked with the roman noir of ‘40s America. The archetypal noir takes place in a big city, a sooty Northern town, or a sun-lit California dreamscape. In Waltz into Darkness, Woolrich winds back to the South of the late 19th century. It’s a world of rigid social codes, a bit archaic, tradition-bound, and old-fashioned. Woolrich dives into it, but doesn’t shed his bleak outlook along they way.
Louis Durand is a successful man, but one who has missed the true meaning of success, love. But someone has stepped into his life, Julia, and their waltz begins. In true Woolrich style, happiness is elusive. Woolrich’s castles are all built on foundations of air. Reality is elusive too, but love and fear are mankind’s constant companions, the mainsprings of action.
Durand discovers that the love he thought he’d found is not what he had imagined. The reader follows him on a journey of self-discovery, fraught with suspense and terror. Who is the Julia that Durand loves, and if she is not that person, does he still lover her. The reader is left guessing until the very end, just as much as Durand is.