What makes Blanche Lake a femme fatale?
She doesn’t try to seduce the detectives who are investigating the case of her missing daughter as did Kitty Keeler in The Investigation.
Although Blanche Lake is an attractive woman who has just moved into New York City with her three-year old daughter she is not drop-dead gorgeous as is Jennifer Rockwell in Night Train.
Nor is she money hungry like Dolly Henderson in Honor Bound.
Blanche Lake is very frightened and very disturbed.
Though little physical violence is present in the novel, Piper brutally deals with the psychological violence that is a common theme throughout her noir thrillers.
Evelyn Piper was Merriam Modell’s pen name. She has also been referred to as Miriam Levant, the name she was given on her birth in Manhattan in 1908. Her novel The Innocent – a domestic suspense novel was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and Bunny Lake is Missing was made into a Hollywood film.
It’s unfortunate that in the movie version changed Blanche Lake’s name to Anne Lake. Blanche, conjures up Tennessee William’s femme fatale, Blanche Dubois – a clear connection to Blanche Lake.
In an excellent article on the movie versus the book, Jake Hingston at criminalelement.com wrote this about Blanche’s character.
Is Bunny real? Or did Blanche imagine a daughter for herself, the result of some trauma in her past? All we know for sure is that Blanche’s terror is real. As daylight bleeds away and night falls, she struggles to keep herself together. Is this frightened young woman going insane? Piper doesn’t reveal the answer too soon, and by keeping us guessing she pulls off a neat trick: we’re certainly pulling for our heroine against all the skeptical people around her, even though we’re not sure if we believe her. For most of its length, Bunny Lake Is Missing is a complex page turner…Is she crazy? Or is she a woman caught up in the grinding machinery of a man’s world? It’s the urgency of those questions, and not the plot mechanics, that stays with you after you finish the book.