Waltz into Darkness illustrates what is best about Cornell Woolrich's fiction and what is . . . challenging.
Most importantly, the plot and characters are first-rate. A man and woman have decided to marry after exchanging letters over several months. We are left to infer such things were common in New Orleans in the late 1800s.
When the couple meet for the wedding, there is some uneasiness as each discovers that the other has---shall we say---de-emphasized certain facts. Who's playing whom?
The groom is a traditional sort of guy. His manners are old-school, and he wants nothing more than to make his new wife happy. The bride is . . . not all she seems to be.
I'd love to tell you about all the surprising things in the book, but I don't want to spoil it for you. So I'll just say, Woolrich pulls off one of the most startling plot reversals I've ever read. Characterwise, he gives us a portrait of an amoral psychopath worthy of Jim Thompson or Patricia Highsmith.
What's challenging is the author's occasional indulgence in painting pictures with words, striving for lyrical effects, and extended meditations. This purple prose crops up here and there throughout the book.
Fortunately, the scenes in which the characters move the plot forward are written with the clarity typical of his excellent short stories. You just have to do a little skimming.