The Living and the Dead (Boileau-Narcejac novel)

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The Living and the Dead
Living and Dead.jpg
First edition
Author Boileau-Narcejac
Original title D'entre les morts
Translator Geoffrey Sainsbury
Country France
Language French
Genre Crime novel
Publisher Hutchinson
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print (Hardback)

The Living and the Dead (also published as Vertigo) (French: D'entre les morts, "Among the Dead") is a 1954 crime novel by Pierre Boileau and Pierre Ayraud (Thomas Narcejac), writing as Boileau-Narcejac. Alfred Hitchcock directed an adaptation of the novel in 1958 as the film Vertigo.


The story concerns a former detective who suffers from vertigo. He is hired to follow the wife of a friend who is puzzled by her strange behavior. The detective becomes obsessed with the woman, eventually falling in love with her, but unable to explain her strange trances and her belief in a previous life.

When she falls to her death from a tower, he is unable to save her due to his fear of heights. He experiences a psychotic break. After his partial recovery he encounters a woman who is nearly the image of his dead love, and he becomes obsessed with her.

In the end she turns out to be the same person he was in love with—an actress who was hired by his friend, in order to hide the murder of his actual wife.


1958 film[edit]

Vertigo (1958), US, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

1997 play[edit]

Vertigo (1997), UK, adapted and directed by Sean O'Connor at Chester Gateway Theatre. In 1998, the play was produced at the Theatre Royal Windsor starring Martin Shaw as Flavieres and Jenny Seagrove as Madeleine. This production was subsequently revived at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guilford with Anthony Andrews as Flavieres.[citation needed]

External links[edit]

  • Boileau, Pierre; Narcejac, Thomas (1957). D'entre les morts [The living and the Dead]. Translated by Geoffrey Sainsbury. New York: I. Washburn. OCLC 1700255.