Elizabeth Sanxay Holding's '34 noir: Mrs. Delancey's dinner gown


Elizabeth Sanxay Holding, who wrote noir and crime novels from 1929 through 1953, had a way with plots. None other than my beloved Raymond Chandler called her the "top suspense writer of them all."

You might be most familiar with the movies made from her gripping novel The Blank Wall. It was made into the movie The Reckless Moment in 1949, starring James Mason. It was remade in 2001 starring Tilda Swinton. I prefer this version, titled The Deep End. Most definitely. GoranVisnjic Swinton rivets, as always. And hunky Goran Visnjic . . . sigh. (I've put his sexy mug at left, just to brighten your day.) If you haven't seen The Deep End, you must. That's an order.

This passage, concerning a dinner party given by Josephine Delancey, a wife who controls her husband with her money, is from The Death Wish, published in 1934:



Mrs. Delancey welcomed them with a shade too much nonchalance. She was wearing a severe black frock that swept the floor, with long sleeves. It was an extremely expensive French model, and Anabel regarded it with sincere admiration. But Mrs. Delancey fancied her guest supercilious, she felt everything was a little wrong, and that Mrs. Luff, actually the most casual of housekeepers, would notice certain little imperfections in her appointments. She detected, moreover, what she believed to be an insolent indifference in Anabel, an almost absent-minded way of answering her.

Indeed, this was an occasion when Mrs. Luff's tact and kindliness had almost deserted her. She was so concerned about Elsie that it was difficult, almost impossible, to attend to anything else.

"Elsie doesn't look well . . ." she said to Mrs. Delancey.

The unhappy Josephine could see a slight even in that.

Josephine erroneously thinks her hubby Shawe is having an affair with Elsie. Excellent book, by the way. Different. Absolutely.

I see Josephine in Butterick 6923, Version D, but with the train of View B. I love this Carolina Herrera black silk satin from Mood: Totally wondrous. 


And don't forget: The Blue Gardenia's End-of-an-Era Sale. What a fantabulous way to stock up on fashions for the New Year. And, of course, in January, regular prices return when we debut our new site design. Hoorah!

And tomorrow: Oonaballoona from Kalkatroona! Don't miss our post about this scintillating sewing blogger.