Francis Booth

10 Novels by Vera Caspary, Prolific Writer of Fiction & Screenplays

Vera Caspary (1899– 1987) was a remarkably prolific American novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. Over the course of her long  career, she became known as a writer of crime fiction and thrillers, though she created works in other genres as well. Widely praised in her lifetime, this roundup of ten Vera Caspary novels illuminates the work of a writer who has been unjustly forgotten.

Caspary had more than twenty novels published (plus others left unpublished), the best known of which remains Laura (1943). She also wrote long short stories and novellas, not to mention numerous screenplays for Hollywood films, some based on her own works.

Many Caspary works featured young, forward-thinking women (then called “career girls”) who fought for female autonomy and equality, and refused male protection. Though most of her work is out of print, many of her books can still be found. She’s an iconic writer whose work deserves rediscovery. Read More→


Categories: Book descriptions, Francis Booth Comments: (0)

Classic Uncanny Stories by British Women Writers

Asked to name uncanny authors, most readers would come up with names like Edgar Allan Poe, M.R. James, H.P. Lovecraft, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu – all male. But a surprising number of women authors, some of whom may be better known for writing more homelike novels, also wrote very “unhomelike” short stories.  

Sigmund Freud’s famous essay about weird literature is usually translated as The Uncanny. But the German word “unheimlich” literally means “unhomelike.”

No Direction Home: The Uncanny in Literature by Francis Booth (©2023, from which this essay is excerpted by permission) traces how uncanny literature takes us from the familiar, the reassuring, the homelike, into a world of the unfamiliar, the unsettling, and the unhomelike. Read More→


Categories: Francis Booth, Literary Analyses Comments: (0)

The Shadow in the Corner by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1879)

A fairly common trope in uncanny stories is that of a shadow. An example of this is the short story “The Shadow in the Corner” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1879), a serious, if rather sensationalist, female novelist who wrote ghost stories. Braddon is most famous for the 1862 novel, Lady Audley’s Secret.

As in other such stories, one of the characters is an educated, responsible man, in this case a scientist, who seeks to disprove what he sees as local superstition. This time we start with a spooky and unhomelike old house, which is believed to be haunted by the restless spirit of a previous owner who had hanged himself in one of the top floor servants’ rooms.

This discussion is excerpted from No Direction Home: The Uncanny in Literature by Francis Booth (©2023, by permission). Read “The Shadow in the Corner” in full. Read More→


Categories: Francis Booth, Literary Analyses Comments: (0)

All Souls’ & The Eyes: Two Uncanny Stories by Edith Wharton

A surprising number of women authors, some of whom may be better known for writing more homelike novels, also wrote very “unhomelike” short stories. One was Edith Wharton, who understood that before leading us into the world of the tense and unsettling, the author first has to make us feel calm and settled. 

Wharton said that this can be done by starting with a modern clean, electric-lit environment at least as well as with a gloomy old castle.

Sigmund Freud’s famous essay about weird literature is usually translated as The Uncanny. But the German word “unheimlich” literally means “unhomelike.” Read More→


Categories: Francis Booth, Literary Analyses Comments: (0)

Music in the Street by Vera Caspary (1929)

Music in the Street was one of three novels by Vera Caspary, the prolific American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, that were all released in 1929, along withThe White Girl  and Ladies and Gents.

This analysis of Music in the Street by Vera Caspary is excerpted from A Girl Named Vera Can Never Tell a Lie: The Fiction of Vera Caspary by Francis Booth ©2022. Reprinted by permission.

Mae Thorpe moves away from her small-town family into a working girls’ home in Chicago, where at first, she is one of the unpopular girls with no boyfriend who stays home on a Saturday night. Read More→


Categories: Francis Booth, Literary Analyses Comments: (0)