The Real Lolita is a tour de force of literary detective work. Not only does it shed new light on the terrifying true saga that influenced Nabokov’s masterpiece, it restores the forgotten victim to our consciousness.

– David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon

The Real Lolita

The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World
Nonfiction
(hardcover)
Ecco (US)
September 11, 2018
9780062661920
(ebook)
September 11, 2018
9780062661944
Canadian Edition (hardcover)
Knopf (Canada)
September 11, 2018
9780735272736
A gripping true-crime investigation of the 1948 abduction of Sally Horner and how it inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel, Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.

Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.

Sally Horner’s story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel’s creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.

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Praise for The Real Lolita

The Real Lolita is a tour de force of literary detective work. Not only does it shed new light on the terrifying true saga that influenced Nabokov’s masterpiece, it restores the forgotten victim to our consciousness.

– David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon
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Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1950s

Mischief, Charlotte Armstrong | The Blunderer, Patricia Highsmith | Beast in View, Margaret Millar | Fools’ Gold, Dolores Hitchens
Fiction
(paperback)
Library of America
September 1, 2015
9781598534313
In place of the mean and violent streets evoked by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, the pioneering women crime writers of the 1940s and ’50s uncovered the roots of fear and mania in a quiet suburban neighborhood or a comfortable midtown hotel or the insinuating voice of a stranger on the telephone.

This volume, the second of a two-volume collection, brings together four classics of the 1950s that testify to the centrality of women writers in the canon of American crime fiction. Each in its own way examines not only an isolated crime but the society that nurtures murderous rages and destructive suspicions.

Charlotte Armstrong’s Mischief (1950) stages a parental nightmare in a midtown Manhattan hotel, as an out-of-town mother reluctantly leaves her child in the care of a stranger so that she can accompany her husband to a banquet where he is the guest of honor. This fateful decision unleashes the barely submerged forces of chaos that haunt modern urban life.

In The Blunderer (1954), Patricia Highsmith tracks two men, strangers to each other, whose destinies become intertwined when one becomes obsessed with a crime committed by the other. Highsmith’s gimlet-eyed portrayals of failed marriages and deceptively congenial middle-class communities lend a sardonic edge to this tale of intrigue and ineptitude.

In Beast in View (1955), Margaret Millar’s intricately constructed tour de force of insidiously mounting tension, a voice from a woman’s past unleashes a campaign of terror by telephone. As the threats mount, the facades of ordinary life are stripped away to reveal unsuspected depths of resentment and madness.

Two teenagers fresh out of stir after a bungled robbery set their sights on what looks like easy money in Dolores Hitchens’s Fools’ Gold (1958)—and get a painful education in how quickly and drastically a simple plan can spin out of control. The basis for Jean-Luc Godard’s film Band of Outsiders, this sharply told tale is distinguished by its nuanced portrait of a sheltered young woman who becomes a reluctant accomplice and fugitive.

Visit the companion website for more on these works and writers, including jacket art and photographs, chronologies of crime novels by women and movie adaptations, and new appreciations by Megan Abbott, Charles Finch, Laura Lippman, Sara Paretsky, Lisa Scottoline, Karin Slaughter, Duane Swierczynski, and Lisa Unger.


This Library of America series edition is printed on acid-free paper and features Smyth-sewn binding, a full cloth cover, and a ribbon marker.

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Praise for Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1950s

A must-read for anyone who loves noir.

– Sara Paretsky
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Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1940s

Laura, Vera Caspary | The Horizontal Man, Helen Eustis | In a Lonely Place, Dorothy B. Hughes | The Blank Wall, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
Fiction
(hardcover)
Library of America
September 1, 2015
9781598534306
This collection, the first of a two-volume omnibus, presents four classics of the 1940s overdue for fresh attention. Anticipating the “domestic suspense” novels of recent years, these four gripping tales explore the terrors of the mind and of family life, of split personality and conflicted sexual identity.

Women writers have always had a central place in American crime writing, although one wouldn’t know it for all the attention focused on the men of the hardboiled school. This collection, the first of a two-volume omnibus, presents four classics of the 1940s overdue for fresh attention. Anticipating the “domestic suspense” novels of recent years, these four gripping tales explore the terrors of the mind and of family life, of split personality and conflicted sexual identity.

Vera Caspary’s Laura (1943) begins with the investigation into a young woman’s murder and blossoms into a complex study, told from multiple viewpoints, of the pressures confronted by a career woman seeking to lead an independent life. Source of the celebrated film by Otto Preminger, Caspary’s novel has depths and surprises of its own. As much a novel of manners as of mystery, it remains a superb evocation of a vanished Manhattan.

Helen Eustis’s The Horizontal Man (1946) won an Edgar Award for best first novel and continues to fascinate as a singular mixture of detection, satire, and psychological portraiture. A poet on the faculty of an Ivy League school (modeled on Eustis’s alma mater, Smith College) is found murdered, setting off ripple effects of anxiety, suspicion, and panic in the hothouse atmosphere of an English department rife with talk of Freud and Kafka.

With In a Lonely Place (1947), Dorothy B. Hughes created one of the first full-scale literary portraits of a serial murderer. The streets of Los Angeles become a setting for random killings, and Hughes ventures, with unblinking exactness, into the mind of the killer. In the process she conjures up a potent mood of postwar dread and lingering trauma.

Raymond Chandler called Elisabeth Sanxay Holding “the top suspense writer of them all.” In The Blank Wall (1947) she constructs a ferociously taut drama around the plight of a wartime housewife forced beyond the limits of her sheltered domestic world in order to protect her family. The barely perceptible constraints of an ordinary suburban life become a course of obstacles that she must dodge with the determination of a spy or criminal.

Psychologically subtle, socially observant, and breathlessly suspenseful, these four spellbinding novels recapture a crucial strain of American crime writing.

Visit the companion website for more on these works and writers, including jacket art and photographs, chronologies of crime novels by women and movie adaptations, and new appreciations by Megan Abbott, Charles Finch, Laura Lippman, Sara Paretsky, Lisa Scottoline, Karin Slaughter, Duane Swierczynski, and Lisa Unger.


This Library of America series edition is printed on acid-free paper and features Smyth-sewn binding, a full cloth cover, and a ribbon marker.

Order from these retailers

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Praise for Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1940s

A long-overdue tribute to the trailblazers of psychological suspense

– Sue Grafton
more