House of Flesh by Bruno Fischer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another great noir from 1950 that deserves to be ranked with the classics of the genre. Really surprised that this was never made into a movie because it has all the elements. I've seen this one labeled as horror or "male-gothic," but neither of those labels fit as this is straight-ahead noir. Harry Wilde is a pro-basketball player reeling from a divorce and a loss in the final game of the championship series. He goes to the countryside for the summer to regroup. He plays around a bit with young and beautiful Polly Wellman until he meets Lela Doane, the wife of a local veterinarian (who is rumored to have murdered his first wife and fed her body to the vicious dogs he keeps). Harry soon makes the classic mistake that drives so many noir plots as he pursues a torrid affair with Lela. The plot complications accelerate from there as Harry, wanting to have Lela Doane for himself, tries to prove that Doane killed his first wife, starting with a search for her bones on Doane's property. Fischer keeps the plot and the atmosphere thick throughout. Perhaps a bit too much dialog for my taste toward at the very end as it wraps up the way a lot of mystery novels do with the unraveling of the who- and how-dunnit, but all-in-all a great noir.
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