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Download The Woman In The Window Book

DEBUT Likened to blockbusters by Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, and Ruth Ware-and billed as the breakout book of 2018-Finn's debut lives up to the hype. The title, also the name of a 1944 film noir, refers to both the protagonist, Dr. Anna Fox, and the horrific scene she witnesses from her kitchen window. An agoraphobic and former child psychologist, Anna spends her days in her Harlem brownstone drinking Merlot by the case, watching old black-and-white mysteries, and spying on her neighbors. Her latest obsession is the new family across the park, the Russells. The trio-a husband, wife, and teen son-remind Anna of her own husband and young daughter, who no longer live with her. Anna's peeping soon reveals what she's positive is a murder and hasty cover-up. But no one-including the police-believe the ravings of a hermit who consistently mixes prescription medication with large doses of alcohol. VERDICT With overt and subtle references to classic thrillers from Hitchcock to Polanski, Finn, a pen name for William Morrow executive editor Dan Mallory, crafts a tightly coiled tale that will keep fans of the genre guessing. A riveting and mature first novel that stands out in a crowded genre. [See Prepub Alert, 7/3/17.]--Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Download The Woman in the Window Book

Two women with pale skin look out at us from the other side of a rectangular window opening with a shadowy interior behind them in this vertical painting. On our right, in the lower third of the composition, one young woman leans toward us over her left arm, which rests along the window ledge. She bends her right arm and props her chin on her fist. She looks at us with dark brown eyes under dark brows. She has shiny chestnut-brown hair with a strawberry-red bow on the right side of her head, to our left. She has a straight nose, and her full pink lips curve up in a smile. She wears a gossamer-white dress with a wide neckline trimmed in dark gray, with another red bow on the front of her chest. Her voluminous sleeves are pushed back to her elbows. To our left, a second woman peeks around a partially opened shutter. She is slightly older, and she stands next to the first woman with her body facing us. She tilts her head and also gazes at us with dark eyes under dark brown brows. She has dark brown hair covered by an oyster-white shawl. She holds the shawl up with her right hand to cover the bottom half of her face. Her mouth is hidden but her eyes crinkle as if in a smile. Her left arm bends at the elbow as she grasps the open shutter. She also wears a white shirt pushed back to her elbows, and a rose-pink skirt. The frame of the window runs parallel to the sides and bottom of the canvas. The room behind them is black in shadow.

While Murillo is well known for works with religious themes, he also produced a number of genre paintings of figures from contemporary life engaged in ordinary pursuits. These pictures often possess a wistful charm; Two Women at a Window is a striking example. A standing woman attempts to hide a smile with her shawl as she peeks from behind a partially opened shutter, while a younger woman leans on the windowsill, gazing out at the viewer with amusement. The difference in their ages might indicate a chaperone and her charge, a familiar duo in upper-class Spanish households. Covering one's smile or laugh was considered good etiquette among the aristocracy.

[1] For this provenance see William Stirling-Maxwell, Annals of the Artists of Spain, 3 vols., London, 1848: 2:920 n. 2, who presumably had the information from Baron Heytesbury (d. 30 May 1860). Heytesbury was ambassador extraordinary in Madrid in 1822-1823. Pedro Francisco Luján y Góngora, Duke of Almodóvar del Rio (1728-1794) was a Spanish diplomat and man of letters. The ownership is established by the inscription on an undated print after the painting by Joaquín Ballester, which employs the present tense: "Quadro original de Bartolomé Murillo que posee el Excmo. Sr. Duque de Almodóvar," reproduced in Diego Angulo Iñiguez, "Quelques tableaux de Murillo. Les femmes a la fenêtre de Murillo, de la Galerie Nationale de Washington," Evolution générale et developpements regionaux en histoire de l'art, Budapest, 1972: fig. 2. Gustav F. Waagen, Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, 3 vols. and supplement, London, 1857: 389, mistakenly gives the provenance as the family of the count of Altamira. Duncan Kinkead, "The Picture Collection of Don Nicolas Omazur," Burlington Magazine 128 (1986): 353, posits that the picture is identical to one in the 1703 inventory of the Sevillian painter, Matías Arteaga. However, the entry does not give the name of the artist and mentions only a single woman--"Un lienzo de vara y medio de alto de una mujer asomada a ventana" ("A canvas is a vara and a half high of a woman looking out of a window"). In a 7 September 1986 letter to unknown recipient, Professor Kinkead states that the same picture is mentioned in Arteaga's capital (possessions of husband at marriage) of 1680, where the estimated value, in his opinion, "is simply too low for it to have been an original by Murillo."

Anna believes she saw a woman being stabbed to death in the window of the home across the street. This home belongs to the Russells, whose son, Ethan, brings her a candle from his mother when they first moved in. After Anna sees this stabbing, Jane Russell is still alive. Ironically, though Anna is agoraphobic and does not leave the house, she is witness to a murder that of which all others (including the police) are ignorant. It turns out that a woman was indeed stabbed, but it was not Jane Russell, but Ethan's biological mother, Katie. 041b061a72


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