The Woman in the Window
A. J. Finn’s debut novel, “The Woman in the Window” (William Morrow, 427 pages) has been getting a great deal of attention.
What may have been the suspense novel of 2017 has been published in 36 languages and is slated to be in production as a major film.
And all of this attention is well deserved in this haunting (and original) tribute to the master of the macabre –Alfred Hitchcock.
The work centers on Dr. Anna Fox, a child psychoanalyst living in New York. Though “separated” from her husband and daughter, she continues to converse with them.
Crippled by guilt over the break up of her family, and the car accident that ensued following their ski trip to Vermont, Anna has developed severe agoraphobia which keeps her from venturing outside her New York City home.
She spends her time watching classic black and white movies while downing prescription pills with countless bottles of merlot.
Her only tie to the outside world is her camera and small circle of Internet patients whom she counsels. Through the lens of her camera, she spies on her neighbors, taking note of everything including the occasional affair.
Anna’s isolation is interrupted when a woman, new to the neighborhood, visits her and the two strike up a friendship.
To her horror, Anna witnesses the murder of this woman whom she knows as Jane Russell.
Much like the Jimmy Stewart character in “Rear Window,” Anna is convinced that she has witnessed a murder but the police will not believe this woman who takes too many pills and mixes them with wine.
Things take on elements of “Shadow of a Doubt” when Anna becomes the prey of a psychotic killer living all too close to her.
The ending is a worthy salute to “Vertigo” in this impressive story which shows how the great Hitchcock continues to inspire new tales of murder and mystery.