Long-lost Woolrich crime story published again

Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:06pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - A long-lost story by American crime writer Cornell Woolrich, best known for film adaptations of his works including Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," appeared in print this week for the first time in 73 years.

"Never Kick a Dick," which uses the now outdated slang for detective, last appeared in 1938 in "Double Detective" magazine.

Andrew Gulli, managing editor of The Strand Magazine which specializes in crime fiction and short stories, has just published it again after the author's estate approached him.

"This is a very big mystery," said Gulli, when asked why it had taken so long for the work to re-surface.

"Woolrich's stories have been put into anthologies thousands of times."

Initially Gulli suspected it may be because the story, set on the penthouse floor of the Miami-Coney Plaza, was a poor example of Woolrich's writing. "But from reading the story it's a good quality tale with strong elements of noir."

"Never Kick" is around 9,000 words long and tells the story of a swindler called Tricks Bernstein who seizes an opportunity to get his own back on New York mobster Big Boy Barnes who had chased him out of town.

But the tables are turned when Barnes works out what has happened, and detective Driscoll happily takes a back seat as the two criminals slug it out for themselves.   Continued...