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1. The Postman Always Rings Twice,
2. Double Indemnity
3. Mildred Pierce
4. The Postman Always Rings Twice
5. Sinful Woman
6. Cain X 3 The Postman always rings
7. Three by Cain: Serenade, Love's
8. Serenade (Crime Masterworks)
9. James M Cain: 4 Complete Novels
10. The Five Great Novels (Picador
11. Packed and Loaded: Conservations
13. Two Novels by James M. Cain: The
14. James M. Cain: Three Complete
15. Butterfly, the V52
16. Three Novels by James M. Cain:
17. The Moth
18. For Men Only: a collection of
19. The Postman Always Rings Twice
20. Cain: The Biography of James M.

1. The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, and Selected Stories (Everyman's Library Classics)
by James M. Cain
Hardcover: 624 Pages (2003-07-22)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$15.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037541438X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
These three classics from the master of the noir novel, along with five otherwise unavailable short stories, are electric with the taut narrative voice, the suspense, and the explosive violence and eroticism that were James M. Cain’s indelible hallmarks.

The Postman Always Rings Twice, Cain’s first novel—tried for obscenity in Boston, the inspiration for Camus’s The Stranger—is the fever-pitched tale of a drifter who stumbles into a job, into an obsessional passion, and into a murder. Double Indemnity—which followed Postman so quickly, Cain’s readers hardly had a chance to catch their breath—is a tersely narrated story of a blind, excessive love, duplicity, and, of course, murder. Mildred Pierce, a work of acute psychological observation and devastating emotional violence, is the tale of a woman with a taste for shiftless men and an unreasoned devotion to her monstrous daughter. All three novels were immortalized in classic Hollywood films. Also included here are five masterful stories—“Pastorale,” “The Baby in the Icebox,” “Dead Man,” “Brush Fire,” “The Girl in the Storm”—that have been out of print for decades. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Shot to the Gut
The seedy underbelly of Los Angeles is a backdrop many crime novelists- both great and long forgotten- have used to add instant flavor to their work.Nothing entices a reader, especially those only familiar with the glitz and glitter of Los Angeles as the Home to the Stars, then having an author pull back the curtain, or in this case, lift up the rug, and show you the dirt and grime underneath.So prepare to wash your hands when you are done with this classic because this 100 page shot to the gut may well stain the fingers with its abundance of Southern California filth.The narrator is a drifter one step ahead of the law.His personal femme fatale is a married woman dying to off the immigrant husband she married simply to escape smalltown America.Their nefarious plans are anything but full proof, their romance is a cauldron of violence and loathing, and the twists and turns author James Cain takes us on rival those of LA's deadly Mulholland Drive, a lonesome stretch of highway not unlike the road that plays a central part in the novel's climax.Hopeless, pathetic, yet undeniably full of life, the characters and environment created in this novel will linger with you a long time after the book is set down.

And just for the record, the slightly unsettling title appears nowhere in the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars for lovers of the hard boiled
If you love thrillers and hard boiled fiction, these novels from the 1930's are still great - well-written and interesting! If you are a film noir buff, you will enjoy reading the source of some of the most important films in this genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Pioneer of American Noir
James M Cain (1892 -1977) is best remembered for a series of novels he wrote while working as a screenwriter in Hollywood during the 1930s, including "The Postman Always Rings Twice", "Double Indemnity" and "Mildred Pierce". These novels were highly popular in their day and were made into several classic movies. Sometimes denigrated as "pulp" or even as "trash", these novels offer their own vision of American life and make a substantial contribution to American literature. The three novels, together with five rare Cain short stories, are available at a modest price in this hardback edition from Everyman's Library.The volume also includes an introductory essay on Cain by Robert Polito together with a chronology of Cain's life and work.

The novels are set in the Depression-era 1930s in southern California, including Los Angeles and its environs. There is feeling of place in each of these novels, particularly of cheap seedy businesses, impoverished dwellings, lonely roads and railroad tracks, poolhalls, and chop houses. The novels offer a stark view of human sexuality and lust and a dismal view of human nature as motivated by greed, jealousy, and class envy. Cain portrays a society that is philistine and always on the make. Women tend to be the stronger characters in Cain's novels. They take the initiative with their men, most often by usuing their sexuality but sometimes through ambition and effort as well. The men tend to be shiftless, unfocused and driven by their passions. Cain's writing is tough, descriptive, colloquial, and short.

The two short works in this collection, "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "Double Indemnity" are stories of murder and violence.Both are told in a confessional style by a male narrator who is about to receive his end for his misdeeds. This style gives the books a strong sense of immediacy. "Postman" is set in suburban Los Angeles among the poor.Its primary character is a 24 year old grifter who becomes involved with the wife of a small owner of a restaurant and plots with her to kill him. The man is referred to by the characters as "The Greek" and their are overtones of prejudice throughout the work. The sexual character of the work was raw and overwhelming in its day, and it remains potent. The illicit affair is described in great detail with strong overtones of masochism on behalf of the woman. The novel details the murder plots, the streets of Los Angeles, and the criminal justice system of the day.It ends with an ironic but fated twist.

"Double Indemnity" also involves a scheme by a woman and her lover to murder the husband.In this case, the motive is more greed -- for the proceeds of an expensive insurance policy -- than lust. The narrator is an insurance salesman who becomes infatuated with the wife of an executive of an oil company. Thus, the story takes place among the middle and upper middle classes rather than among the poor; and, as was "Postman" it is narrated by the primary male character as a confessional before he meets his end. The leading female character in the book is sharply drawn and substantially more evil than her counterpart in "Postman."The book shows a good deal of internal development of its characters and works to a tense ending.

The third novel, "Mildred Pierce" is the longest and probably most substantial of the three. It has the same basic noir setting as the earlier works -- southern California in the 1930, but is much more psychologically probing than its companions. It does not involve a murder, but it shows even more than the shorter novels the darker aspects of human nature and the effects of lust and greed.

Cain's major character, Mildred Pierce, is a strongly and complexly drawn figure. She breaks with her philandering, ne'r do well husband and attempts to raise two young daughters on her own. She plays favorites between her two daughters. When the younger, less favored daughter tragically dies, Mildred redoubles her efforts towards the older girl, who Mildred believes, has great talent as a classical pianist.The girl, Vera, is ungrateful and spiteful from her youth, and much of the book involves the unravelling of the relationship between mother and daughter.

When she leaves her husband, Mildred has no apparent skills beyond the ability to bake pies.Yet Cain portrays her as a character of drive and ambition. Mildred is able to parlay a job she is forced to take as a waitress in a cheap restaurant, where she is groped and ogled, into a career as an entrepreneur.With this success, Mildred's story is ultimately a sad one as a result of her relationship with her daughter and her failed affairs with two unscrupulous and lustful men following her break with her husband. Cain offers a tough yet hard portrayal of a woman in a book which may grow with the reader.

I enjoyed reading these novels by Cain together with the stories which have qualities similar to the novels. This is a valuable book for those readers interested in noir or in American literature. I am attaching links to the individual titles of these works for further information and reviews for the interested reader.

The Postman Always Rings Twice
Double Indemnity
Mildred Pierce

Robin Friedman

5-0 out of 5 stars Satisfied customer
The book arrived in great condition in a timely manner. I would order from this vendor again.

5-0 out of 5 stars MY GOD THESE WERE/ARE GREAT!
Simply put, you gotta read'em to believ'em ...there just isn't anything this good around these days. ... Read more

2. Double Indemnity
by James M. Cain
Paperback: 115 Pages (1989-05-14)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723226
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A riveting classic of American crime fiction.Amazon.com Review
When smalltime insurance salesman Walter Huff meets seductivePhyllis Nirdlinger, the wife of one of his wealthy clients, it takeshim only minutes to determine that she wants to get rid of herhusband--and not much longer to decide to help her do it.Walterknows that accident insurance pays double indemnity on railroadmishaps, so he and Phyllis plot frantically to get Nirdlinger on--andoff--a train without arousing the suspicions of the police, theinsurance company, Nirdlinger's dishy daughter, her mysteriousboyfriend, or Nirdlinger himself. This brief but complex novel is aperfect example of the ordinary-guy-gone-disastrously-wrong story thatCain always pulls off brilliantly. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tight and thrilling
I have only recently become smitten with hard-boiled fiction, so this is the first of James M. Cain's books that I have read.

I couldn't be more pleased. Coming in at only 115 pages (feeling more like a screenplay than a novel in my hands), Double Indemnity isn't inflated by frivolous padding or ornate language but, instead, thrills with every sentence.

It only took me a couple of hours -- I'm only a rather moderately-paced reader -- to get through, but that could be attributed to the fact that I couldn't set it down as much to its novella size.

Through the very many books that I have read, I have yet to find a book that comes even close to being as gripping a read. With it's taut narrative, realistic characters, honest portrayal of human guilt, love and lust this textbook on perfect murder and well-thought-out fraud is truly a masterpiece.

5-0 out of 5 stars Double Indemnity
Although not published in book form until 1943, James M. Cain (1892 -1977) wrote "Double Indemnity" in 1936, just after his other short masterful noir novel "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1934) Both these novels became celebrated movies. I read the books together to try to get some understanding of Cain's art and of the noir genre.

As is Cain's earlier book, "Double Indemnity" is set in Los Angeles in the 1930s and is a tale of violence and murder heavily influenced by sex.Both books are told in the first person by a perpetrator of the crimes nearing the end of his life. The men in both books are seduced by a femme fatale who wishes to be rid of a husband.

There are differences in the books.The "Postman Always Rings Twice" involves people at the lower reaches of society, a wandering, penniless drifter together with a young frustrated woman married to an older man, "the Greek", who operates a run-down gas station and restaurant. The supporting characters also are drawn from low life. The book has a strong sense of place.The descriptions of the shabbier sections of Los Angeles and its environs are as important to the book as its story of lust and murder.

In contrast, "Double Indemnity"is far more psychological and probes deeper into the inner lives of its characters.The sense of place is less important that it is in "Postman".Furthermore, "Double Indemnity" involves crime and lust among the middle and upper classes rather than by those on the margins. The main character and narrator, Walter Huff, age 34, is a modestly successful insurance salesman.His victim, Nirdlinger, is a succesful oil and gas executive. The femme fatale is Nirdlinger's wife Phylis, in her early thirties. Phylis seduces Nirdlinger to sell her husband an accident insurance policy and to participate in murdering Nirdlinger. Because the policy pays a double indemnity for accidents occurring on a railroad, Huff and Phyllis stage a scenario under which Nirdlinger appears to lose his life in an accident on a passenger train.

Unlike "Postman", "Double Indemnity" has a subplot involvingNirdlinger's daughter from a previous marriage, Cora, age 19, and her boyfriend, Beniamino Sachetti, 26, a student working on his doctorate in chemistry.The book has strong themes of sexual jealousy as Sachetti appears to be involved both with Cora and with Cora's stepmother Phyllis.Huff too is motivated to the murder by his desire for Phyllis, but he develops an almost innocent love in the course of the story for Cora.

Insurance policies are important in "Postman" but even more so in this book, as Huff's company struggles to find a way out of paying the $50,000 double indemnity for Nirdlinger's apparent accident.The aging, jowly, shrewd and cynical claims adjuster, Keyes, finds a way of unravelling what appears to be a flawless crime.

The story is narrated in a taut, laconic style with moments of reflectiveness from Huff as he comes to understand himself and his fate.I did not find Huff an innocent or unwilling participant in the actions described in the book.Rather, he is on the lookout for the main chance and takes the initiative from the outset in proposing and planning the murder of Nirdlinger. Early in the book, Cain gives Huff a long and revealing soliloquy in which he compares his life as an insurance agent with that of a roulette croupier.He says "I lie awake night thinking up tricks, so I'll be ready for them when they come at me.And then one night I think up a trick, and get to thinking I could crook the wheel myself if I could only put a plant out there to put down my bet.That's all.When I met Phyllis, I met my plant." (pp23-24)

Huff also understands Phyllis early in their relationship.He quotes her: "There's something in me that loves Death." I think of myself as death, sometimes.in a scarlet shroud, floating through the night.I's so beautiful, then.And sad.And hungry to make the whole world happy, by taking them out where I am, into the night, away from all trouble, all unhappiness." (p. 18) As the novel unfolds, Huff learns that there were depths to Phylis' murderous, violent character of which he was unaware when the couple formed their plot to kill Nirdlinger.

The story unfolds with a great deal of tension and inner logic as the complex elements of the plots are pulled together. The book offers a tough-minded portrayal of the consequences of greed, hatred, and lust, but it offers a hint of the possibility of love as well.

I enjoyed getting to know both these early books of James Cain, "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "Double Indemnity". Although sometimes patronized as "pulp" writing, these are serious, well-written novels worthy of a place in American literature.

Robin Friedman

5-0 out of 5 stars Cain Kills With This One
Absolutely incredible! Cain writes a clean and crisp story containing multiple plot twists to keep you guessing. My first "crime/fiction" novel I've read in a while and it was well worth my time. The book is fairly small yet it still packs a huge wallop of detail and intensity. This is the kind of book that can draw you to be infatuated with that genre in which it came from. Those who read this will not be able to put it down until the last line of Cain's irresistible prose.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced noir thriller
An insurance salesman is seduced by a femme fatale into helping murder her husband for the policy pay-off, and plots the "perfect" crime. However, little is as it seems, and things become almost Machiavellian as wheels within wheels are revealed over the course of the crime...

Although this book starts off slow, it quickly builds up speed and tension once things truly get under way re: the murder and (especially) the aftermath. Once I got "into" it, I couldn't put it down.

On the bright side, it's a neat little story (and apparently **loosely** inspired by real events!). The plot is tightly crafted, with new angles continuouslyintroduced to keep the reader guessing, and is a fast-read.

On the down-beat, there are a few potential plot holes that were left open over the course of the story, though the plot goes on enough weird angles that it's debatable whether they would ever come up. Arguably, this is a story you're supposed to 'turn your mind off' with and let the investigators do the thinking, so maybe that's forgivable.My major complaint would be the ending: without giving too much away, it just wasn't satisfying or realistic. Again, others would quite likely be more forgiving.

Worth checking out.

4-0 out of 5 stars It Always A "Dame", Right?
I am more familiar with the work of James M. Cain via the movies as the basis of such films as The Postman Always Rings Twice and one of the works under review here Double Indemnity. For classic noir films I like to read the works they are based on to see how true they are to the literary efforts. Thus, I picked up this book for Double Indemnity but along the way I got into the other two. The common theme here is the role of women in bringing a man down (or building him up, if that seems appropriate to her designs). You know the old Adam and Eve tale in the modern setting. If Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, Cain's near contemporaries, had the hard-boiled, no nonsense detective down Cain has the bewitching femme fatale and `gullible' smitten guy down in the same way. This little three story volume, moreover, has the virtue of an introduction by Cain himself where he essentially dismisses out of hand positive critical comments about the hard-boiled outlook on the world expressed in his work, his commanding sense of language and his deft craftsmanship with the twists and turns of a story. Ya, right.

Cain identifies Career in C Major as the story that he liked the best of the three presented here and the one that would hold up over time. I did not get that feeling mainly because the story line gets a little too bogged down by the narrator's efforts to become a male opera singer. The tension between his gratitude (if you can call it that) to his operatic paramour/muse and his catty, headstrong and over demanding wife (who also had musical ambitions) is what drives this little work. In the end, there is basically a Mexican stand-off between hubby and wife.I do not believe that either the theme or the moral hold up today. Let me point out that despite Cain's predilections for this little piece Double Indemnity, with a very much darker theme, is still remembered as a classic tale of murderous impulse. This one you can take or leave.

The Embezzler is, however, one you had better take, as its plot structure leads straight to the classics. This little sleeper of a story points to the fine twist and turns that Cain is rather noted for. The plot revolved around the complicity of a bank executive and the wife of a bank clerk to try to stave of family disaster (her's) by trying to "fix" the books of her philandering husband held in thrall by his fellow female employee, an accountant (go figure, right?). The twist and turns center, of course, around the attraction of the bank exec for the wronged wife who may, or may not be, on the up and up. Christ, this thing had me guessing for a while whether that exec was really going to take the tumble for a wrong "dame". Read this one. You will be glad.

I mentioned above that one of the things I want to read the original story of a film noir classic for is to see how close it is to the film version. Double Indemnity runs fairly close except as to the fates of the two lovers, if that is what they are. The plot here revolves around that old standard- life insurance- or rather more properly `death' insurance, for the insured. One hulky insurance agent meets one drop dead beautiful yoing wife of an insured older client. Said wife merely inquires about accident insurance for dear hubby.You know, he is in a dangerous business, producing oil in L.A. The rest is history- hubby is a goner. The double indemnity part? Oh, if you die in an accident on a train you get double. Get it? You will.

The core of the story goes to the compulsive nature of the actual murder once the wheels are set in motion, its cover-up and the falling out among thieves. Along the way we get an entanglement with the deceased insured lovely daughter, her `boyfriend' and enough duplicity to fill up the jails of 1930's California to capacity. No problem.Except the ending of this story doesn't match up with the film. Yes, the moral of both is that men (and women) must not do evil things to their fellows. Okay, but in the movie it is a straight proposition- the bad guys must pay back society for their crimes. They must die. In the book not only is that true but the bad guys had to feel guilt-ridden about it as well.So, instead of getting away with their nefarious deeds they must kill themselves. Moreover, as it turns, wifey didn't tell dear old insurance man that she had a little prior history of psychopathic behavior. So all of society's books are cleared on this one.Nice. I'll take the darker book ending, thank you.

... Read more

3. Mildred Pierce
by James M. Cain
Paperback: 304 Pages (1989-05-14)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723218
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A classic novel of acute social observation and devastating emotional violence. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mommy's dearest
James M. Cain's "Mildred Pierce" is a noir novel in which the femme fatale is not the mistress, but the daughter. This is a story of a mother's unconditional love for a she-devil child. It is something of a painful reading, because the characters are so terribly vivid that you fell sorry for some, and hate some others.

"Mildred Pierce" is all about character development rather than plot - what doesn't mean there is a narrative. The narrative is developed throughout the characters' arc. There isn't a single flat character in the novel. They all somehow surprises the reader - they change, they may change back, but, at some point, they are different from the beginning.

Cain's writing is above the pulp average, it is labored, it is complex and profound. His insights into the human soul bring another layers to the story. He doesn't need to explain much but once his characters acting we can easily follow them, because the interest in them never declines.

"Mildred Pierce" can also be a cautionary tale. Mothers, beware! No matter how blind you are to your kids' fault, they are human and, therefore, likely to commit good and bad acts. Poor Mrs Pierce.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best work by maybe the best noir writer
I'm a big fan of Hammett, Chandler, Ellory, and a few others who can take you inside the minds of people you'd never want to meet, yet might resemble a little too much. But as time goes by I'm beginning to lean towards Cain as the master of the noir genre, and this as his masterpiece.

As much as people love the Curtiz/Crawford film, its wellspring is overall a much finer, deeper work. Where the movie panders to its audience by including a murder that doesn't occur here (and needn't), Cain never once takes the easy route of administering easy moments of "justice" (read enough noir and that word will never seem the same...). He knows how people work, and it ain't very pretty most of the time, and he ain't afeared that we'll be unentertained when things go all too realistically.

Our heroine here is in most respects a very sympathetic lady, and we start pulling for her right out of the gate. But Cain doesn't let us off that easy. He also shows Mildred's various flaws, the fatal one being her obsessive love/worship/need for the respect of her daughter Veda. After a while any sane reader has to start disliking Mildred a bit for this myopia, and wondering how a woman so bright in other matters can be so blind regarding her daughter. Yet Cain paints her portrait so thoroughly, blemishes and all, that we must eventually forgive her this tragic blindness and thus suffer with her as she is mistreated ever more hideously by her demon progeny.

Veda is so ruthless, and ruthlessly portrayed, that it gets a bit much at times, and we begin to lust for her comeuppance. What makes Cain so intensely unforgiving, and accurate, is that she never gets it. It's a bit hard to take for those of us used to neat, clean endings and summarily dispensed justice, but it rings all too true, and that's the hallmark of this genre. Add to that Cain's sharp eye for self-serving action, and painfully sharp ear for the motives lurking beneath our every day banter, and you've got a book where no one is a hero, and everyone is all too human, as good sides mingle with bad sides until we're forced to look at ourselves a little more unflinchingly.

And that's a sign of great art.

Cain delivers the goods here in so many ways, and his feel for the mind of women is very rare among male writers, if the praise of so many women for his works is anything to go by. He surely has no fear of showing many men for the callow bums we can be, and also showing how it is that women can be taken in by the charm of many a cad. He also sees through the vanity of the female, and how it can easily become an Achilles heel. No one is innocent in Cain's worlds.

All that said, this isn't exactly what I'd call a "satisfying read". It's a little too accurate about homo sap in general, and can be unnerving in its harsh portrayal of our endless deceit and egotism. But if you like literature because you like to learn more about yourself, and us, and the weirdness that we hath wrought upon each other and this world, James M. Cain is waiting for you.

And Mildred Pierce is a dame you'll never forget.

5-0 out of 5 stars California Dreams and Nightmares
Mildred Pierce, by James M. Cain

Herbert Pierce has a problem: his wife Mildred told him he had to give up his ladyfriend or move out (Chapter 1). Bert inherited a ranch in Glendale and subdivided it to become rich. He invested in stocks on margin and was wiped out in 1929. Mildred is skilled in baking cakes. Eleven year old Veda quickly noticed her father's absence. [Is her snobbery a fatal flaw?] Their home may be in foreclosure soon. Mrs. Gessler educates Mildred about men (Chapter 2). Mildred learned about employment opportunities, and found a job as a waitress (Chapter 3). Mildred got Bert's car (Chapter 4). Mildred saw an opportunity to bake cakes for the restaurant (Chapter 5). She tries to beat some sense into Veda. Mildred studied the operation of the restaurant to learn the business for her future (Chapter 6). Wally explains how Mildred can buy property for her planned restaurant.

Mildred met Monty Beragon and became involved with him (Chapter 7). The youngest daughter gets the grippe, goes to the hospital, and dies (Chapter 8). Chapter 9 describes the operation of her small restaurant. "Salad is served first in California." Her first day was a success, people loved home-made waffles. There is a sly reference to Hoover and Roosevelt (Chapter 10). Veda will take piano lessons from an expert. The Beragon family went bust and had to sell their palatial residence in Pasadena. [Are those who are born into wealth helpless without it?] Mildred speaks her mind to Monty. The Repeal of Prohibition starts Chapter 11. Mildred started to serve cocktails and drew bigger and better dinner trade. Veda reveals her perverse nature on Christmas day. Was Veda corrupted by Monty? Mildred tells off Monty and breaks up with him.

Mildred's restaurant is doing well, she starts a branch in Beverly (Chapter 12). Then another in Laguna Beach. A wealthy Mildred incorporates as a safeguard against lawsuits. Veda devoted her whole time to music, but was not taken on as a pupil by a famous maestro. Veda grew up and spent time with her new friends (Chapter 13). Did she get into a mess of trouble? Mildred throws her out of their "hovel"! Mildred learns that Veda has a job singing on a popular radio program (Chapter 14). Mr. Treviso warns Mildred. The now wealthy Mildred buys the Beragon mansion (Chapter 15). Veda sings at the Hollywood Bowl (Chapter 16)! The house was a heavy financial load, and new competition affected business to a great extent. Mildred must now choose between work and pleasure. One night Mildred gets the shock of her life! Chapter 17 ends the story. Mildred has lost her business and was poor again, but not vanquished. Veda will move to New York for a new start. Will Mildred begin her life over again? What will Veda do with her life? Dump Monty? Does anyone care?

This is a more complex story than Cain's earlier novels. The number of racy scenes made it scandalous, as well as the personal life of Mildred. This book tells about life then from its background details. It also educates about starting a small business. Adopting a life of leisure can be poisonous to a small business owner. Most of all it is a warning about certain personality types; you may encounter them in your life. Like his earlier novels, this is a story about betrayal and the punishment for moral lapses. The book is much better than the film. [Would Jerry Springer ever have a show where the mother and daughter were in a romance with the stepfather?]

4-0 out of 5 stars Mildred Pierce
Probably more famous as a celebrated 1945 movie starring Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce (Keepcase)James Cain's novel "Mildred Pierce" (1941)is set in the gritty world of Depression-era Los Angeles in the 1930s.Cain is famous for the noir writing of his shorter and earlier novels, "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "Double Indemnity", which also became classic films.Unlike these books, "Mildred Pierce" does not involve the murder of a husband by his wife and her lover, but it includes and expands upon the themes of sex, greed, and class of these two earlier books. It also portrays a world of pervasive philistinism. Unlike its predecessors, much of the focus of "Mildred Pierce" is on the mother-daughter relationship and upon ingratitude. Although related in the third person (unlike the confessional first-person narratives of Postman and Double Indemnity) in a clipped, hard-boiled tone, the novel is an introspective character study of its heroine.

When the book begins, Mildred and her husband Bert are living in a Glendale, California in a middle-class home that the couple can no longer afford. The marriage is breaking up as a result of Bert's affair with a woman named (Maggie) Mrs. Biederhoff, who appears to have been widdowed for about a year.Mildred is left with the job of raising two young daughters, Ray, 7 and Vera, 11, faced with a heavy mortgage, no job, and no skills other that her ability to bake pies. Mildred also has a lovely figure and gorgeous legs.She soon falls into a relationship with Wally, an unscrupulous lawyer and former business associate of her husband. But Mildred has ambitions.At first she proudly spurns domestic work, but she eventually takes a job as a waitress in a hash house, where customers grope her legs but where she determines to learn the business and make something of herself. Mildred uses what she learns at the hash house and her skills as a baker to open her own restaurant and, eventually, a chain of restaurants, which succeed aided by the repeal of Prohibition.

Besides showing Mildred's rise as a woman entrepreneur, Cain shows her sexual relationships with Wally and with a rich idler named Monty who loses his fortune during the Depression. Monty sponges off Mildred, and his interest in her is limited to sex and to her body. Mildred maintains through most of the book an ambiguous relationship with Bert, whom she divorces to secure the property she needs for her restaurant. Of the two daughters, Veda gets most of her mother's attention, for her apparent musical talent and her snobbery. Veda mocks her mother and spurns her love, which Mildred want to gain at all costs.Mid-way in the novel, after a torrid weekend affair between Monty and Mildred, the younger daughter Ray dies from an infection caught at seaside. Her death and funeral are portrayed in detail.Mildred redoubles her efforts with Veda and with Veda's piano lessons.

Among many other things, Cain portrays the harsh competitive side of the world of classical music when Veda learns from a reputed conductor and teacher, Treviso, in no uncertain terms that she has no talent for the piano. Shortly thereafter, however, Veda becomes a famous singer.In an astonishing scene between Treviso and Mildred, Treviso compares Veda to a poisonous coral snake with no thought of anything but herself.He advises Mildred to stay away from her daughter. This is advice that few mothers would take. The relationship between Mildred, Veda, Monty and Bert leads the novel to a crashing climax and ending.

The focus of the novel is on Mildred, but the novel portrays well many secondary characters. Broadly, the characters in Cain's world are driven by lust and money. There is also a strong component of class jealousy.The male characters, including Bert, Wally, Monty, and a young man named Sam, who is the victim of an extortionate scheme of Veda's are weak, lazy characters, ruled by their sex drives.Mildred is a much more complex character than any of the men.For all her faults and her ultimate downfall in the novel, Cain evokes sympathy for her. Some of the other women, including Mildred's friend Ida, from her hash house days, and her neighbor Mrs. Gessler, receive convincing-multi-faceted tough portrayals. Besides showing character, "Mildred Pierce" has a strong sense of place in showing Southern California in the 1930s.The book includes an extraordinary scene of a furious rainstorm which Mildred braves in her attempt to break up with Monty who is siphoning off her money and her ambitions.

"Mildred Pierce" is a dark portrayal of people and place. It succeeds through its unremitting emphasis of sex, greed and human weakness and through its picture of Mildred.Strong but flawed female characters are relatively rare in American literature, particularly of Cain's time.This is a book that deserves to be read and remembered.

Robin Friedman

3-0 out of 5 stars mommy dearest?
Good writing and realism helped carry this novel a while for this reader. But I felt the lack of respect and compassion I had for all the characters tended to drag this novel down, and it became a bit of a chore to finish. No one had any morals or any brains. I wish I could've felt compassion for Mildred Pierce, but she stupidly enabled her "bad seed" daughter Veda every other page. ... Read more

4. The Postman Always Rings Twice
by James M. Cain
Paperback: 128 Pages (1989-05-14)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$0.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723250
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Cain's first novel, banned in Boston, was an instant sensation and established him as a master of the mystery/suspense genre.Amazon.com Review
Penzler Pick, April 2000: It is sometimes easy to trace a literary genre to its source, and James M. Cain's first novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, is the noir novel that paved the way for all the noir fiction that followed. The famous film starring Lana Turner and John Garfield is notoriously dark, but the novel is even more full of despair and devoid of hope. It is a short book--little more than a novella--but its searing characterization and depiction of tawdry greed and lust is branded into every reader's memory.

Frank Chambers, a drifter, is dropped from the back of a truck at a rundown rural diner. When he spots Cora, the owner's wife, he instantly decides to stay. The sexy young woman, married to Nick, a violent and thuggish boor, is equally attracted to the younger man and sees him as her way out of her hopeless, boring life. They begin a clandestine affair and plot to kill Nick, beginning their own journey toward destruction.

Horace McCoy, David Goodis, Jim Thompson, and the other notable noir writers never achieved Cain's spare brilliance. Virtually all of his major works have been filmed, though several Hollywood studios refused to make the films, directors refused to be involved, and actors turned down roles because of their repugnance at the lack of morality inherent in all Cain's characters. Reading him may not be fit for a Sunday school class, but once you begin you will be unable to resist continuing, like picking at a painful scab or watching a tarantula inside a glass dome. --Otto Penzler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (66)

4-0 out of 5 stars Livid.
A voyeuristic look into the shallow, callow amorality of people on the side of the interstate. The sex scenes still have clothes ripping, lip biting, carnal shock value--probably why it sold so well!

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting first venture into the genre of noir
Another book that I was introduced to by 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. My first venture into the genre of American crime noir, and a successful one.

This short (only about 100 pages) novel is narrated by Frank Chambers - a homeless bum, a morally deficient good-for-nothing fellow who gets by by hitch-hiking, gambling and turning shady deals. One day he comes across a roadside diner/gas station and is quickly hired by its owner - a Greek entrepreneur Nick. The only reason Frank sticks around is because of Nick's wife - a blond femme fatale Cora. The two quickly find themselves involved in a passionate, violent and destructive love affair that eventually leads them to the decision to kill Cora's husband. Surprisingly, they succeed in getting away with the crime, but they never quite recover from what they've done. Guilt, fear and mutual suspicion push them to their demise...

I actually found myself very surprised (pleasantly) by this novel. It was very intense and rather risque (I can only imagine its reception when the book was first published in 1934). A great blend of sex, murder, corruption, violence, and, ironically, love.

P.S. I also watched a movie adaptation of this book with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. That movie was something... Very provocative.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not What I Was Expecting
This is definitely not a book that suited me.I like the concept of noir, but did not love Cain's style of writing, nor did I actually fall for the story.Those who love this genre may find it to be a lot better, but all in all, the story was jumpy, the language hard to read at times and more than a bit unbelievable.

Service, however, was excellent.Received it the next day.

4-0 out of 5 stars Decent noir novella
I had read "Double Indemnity" a few months back, and liked it enough that I thought I'd give this a go. Aspects of this reminded me of DI, though TPART was actually written first, so I'm willing to forgive any similarities.

A drifter hits town and becomes smitten with a bored housewife. They have a fling, and then decide to remove the husband permanently... and things spiral down from there.

On the plus side, it's a quick read (just over 100 pages) and managed to keep me interested. The down-beats would be a rather chunky and clunky bit of exposition towards the end that threw the rhythm off, and Cain's prose - very rushed and unpolished. Granted it was his first novel and he was probably going for that effect anyway.

I was a bit surprised to learn this was banned (by Boston, at least) as obscene upon its release, though I guess I can see why: the main characters flaunt their lack of "moral fortitude" so this was probably quite shocking for the time it was written. To an extent, this novel inadvertently functions as an odd little time capsule of the period.

Worth reading once, if you like anti-hero crime fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic American Noir
James Cain's short and enigmatically-titled novel, "The Postman Rings Twice" (1934) began a new form of genre writing and noir film.It is tough, tersely told and raw, with a portrayal of sexuality that was extreme for its time.The novel works well because it depicts a sense of place - the dingy and poor areas, both rural and urban, of California in the 1930s. The characters are painted well in short, pointed strokes.The writing style is tough and laconic.

The story is told in the first person by Frank Chambers, a violent 24-year old loner and drifter.At the outset of the story, Chambers is thrown out of a truck in which he had stown himself away in Mexico. He finds himself in rural California about 20 miles from Los Angeles.He is offered a job at a small gas station and restaurant, the "Twin Oaks Tavern" owned Nick Papadakis, whom Chambers calls "The Greek". Chambers and Papadakis' young, frustrated wife Cora quickly begin a seamy affair.Cora is attracted by Chambers' strength, youth, and sexual brutality.

Chambers describes his and Cora's two attempts to kill Papadakis in which he narrowly avoids detection. The murder attempts are interspersed with stories of games of pool in shabby halls, drinking and wandering on Los Angeles streets, the gritty life of a waitress in "hash houses" full of sexual come-ons, and a short trip to Mexico that Chambers takes with another woman, Madge. Cain also portrays the defense and prosecutorial lawyers that occupy this level of the criminal justice system. But most of the book centers upon the torrid relationship between Chambers and Cora, as they betray and try to separate from each other. Chambers is an unsympathetic, immoral character for most of the story, but I found myself feeling for him and for Cora as the book comes to an ironic, fated end.

The novel has been made into at least four movies and it created a new form of pulp, crime novel.But in this case, the novel transcends its genre. With its tight style, portrayal of lonely lost people, and dismal places, "The Postman Rings Twice" is a work of literature separate from noir.The novel is available in a separate text; but it is probably best read as part of a Library of America volume of "Crime Novels, American Noir of the 1930s and 40s" that includes five additional works by five different authors.Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s and 40s: The Postman Always Rings Twice / They Shoot Horses, Don't They? / Thieves Like Us / The Big Clock / Nightmare ... a Dead Man (Library of America) (Vol 1)

Robin Friedman ... Read more

5. Sinful Woman
by James M. Cain
Paperback: Pages (1989-09)
list price: US$4.95 -- used & new: US$71.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0887390897
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6. Cain X 3 The Postman always rings twice, mildred pierce and double indemnity
by James M. Cain
 Hardcover: Pages (1969)

Asin: B001VU5LKM
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Three film noir classics
Whipped through this one pretty fast.Cain was a great mystery writer and these are three of is best (not to mention three great films!)

Found it cheaper than buying one of these books new.There's an introduction by Thomas Wolfe too. ... Read more

7. Three by Cain: Serenade, Love's Lovely Counterfeit, The Butterfly
by James M. Cain
Paperback: 464 Pages (1989-05-14)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$12.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723234
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
All three books are written with an enduring view of the dark corners of the American psyche. Cain hammered high art out of the crude matter of betrayal, bloodshed, and perversity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
If you like Cain, after plowing through the big three - Postman, Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce - you should soon find your way to these classics. IMHO two of the three books here are just about first-rate. Serenade is terrific, and Butterfly is daring and powerful. Good stuff!

5-0 out of 5 stars James M Cain, Genius
There is no such thing as a bad Cain book. One of my favorite authors and these stories are great stuff.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Book behind Lanza's Serenade
I got this book because the novella, "Serenade" was the story that resulted in a Mario Lanza movie (bearing the same name) from the 1950's. Due to the deviations from the written story (in the 1950's, a gay relationship, however repulsive from the protagonist's pov, was not 'MGM' fare) I thought the story might make a good plot for an opera or musical today- if the leading cinematic tenor of his day could make it persuasive, imagine what a REAL singer could do... Well, it still is possible as a musical vehicle, but not from me.

Reading Cain's novella was like stepping back into the era of 'cinema noir'. Every bit of grit and grime that one could possibly feel, was present in his story, including the lowlifes who seem to be the focus of that genre. Never having read this author, therefore, it was a given that I was in uncharted territory. But I soon realized I didn't WANT to be in this territory.

I feltthe utter lack of empathy of the Author for the main character- who tries (unsuccessfully) to leave his homosexual liaison with an influential critic/socialite, without resorting to murder-may have been 1950's 'realism,' but for me, Cain's novella made the main character far less a man than even the Lanza remake- in short, you wondered why the writer went to such troubles, if his creation was so unloveable. Moreover, the protagonist's talismanic relationship with the female lead was very bizarre, in that one got the impression he never even loved her, but rather saw her as his 'erotic salvation,' in an almost totally depersonalized fashion. Perhaps that is how gays saw marriage and heterosexuality in the 1950's...I can't say. But is was just weird reading it from the distance of half a century.

In short, there was no grace, no humanity, no aspect of redemption to it (the story) at all- and thus, I found it totally unbelievable. As an Opera plot, Bizet did it far better with Carmen's Don Jose- at least you knew he was a goner with Carmen, and everyone could see WHY he was a goner, even if you wouldn't have gotten in the mix with her, and would rather have gone home with Micaela. In this story of Cain's, however, the female was a short, dumpy Mexican Indian, for whom an American Anglo of the 1940'scould rarely (if ever) find psychic and/or erotic satisfaction, unless his warped nature was truly THAT warped.... and if it were so, then the homosexual relationship with the dilettante rich snob at least offered wealth, glamor and an easy life. You almost wondered why he was fighting it, or, if it meant that much to him, to give it all up, and enter a monastery to at least repent for his sins....

Cain's writing style, OTOH,kept me interested until about thirty pages before the end of the book. But the thin veneer of an analogy to Carmen, and a latter-day homosexed Don Jose made me (singers, bullfighters, Latin lovers, etc.) realize Cain had not invented something new, but was just re-hashing an already created masterpiece of another sort; kind of like an early version of aLloyd-Webber 'Sunset Boulevard'. Trouble is, with all the music, WIlder's B/W film still is head and shoulders above AL-W. In a much more profound way, Bizet and Meilhac are way better than Cain...by a mile.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great hard-boiled writing
If you're a fan of Cain's prose these three short novels will satisfy.These are quite different from his more famous noir novels(Postman; Double Indemnity) but they still contain his unique brand of hard-boiled writing: minimalist sentences, crisp dialogue, and spare, economical description.

Serenade deals with an American opera singer (Cain trained as an opera singer before turning to journalism) who falls for a Mexican prostitute and brings her illegally back into the states where he begins a meteoric rise to fame, until something goes horribly wrong.

Love's Lovely Counterfeit is a tale of small town crime.A solid thriller.

The final novel, The Butterfly, is the most unique as it deals with the subject of incest in a West Virginia coal mining town.A nineteen year old girl shows up at a man's farm claiming to be his daughter, and takes things a little far with her sexual teasing.The plot takes several turns in its slim 90 pages, but I've never read another book quite like The Butterfly.The subject matter lends itself to Cain's spare, objective prose, because you need some distance from a topic like incest, and Cain hadles it well.

The book also contains a short preface to The Butterfly, where the author talks a bit about his biography and his approach to writing.

All three books are a solid 'B' grade, and fans of Cain, especially his writing style, should seek this book out.

2-0 out of 5 stars Serenade
I have only read Serenade out of the three novels in this book, so that is what this review concerns.

James M. Cain wrote in the first person, from the criminals perspective. His storytellers are not usually hardened criminals, yet through circumstances commit the most atrocious of crimes. He writes about down trodden, out of luck schmucks, who fall for the wrong kind of girl. Interestingly, it is usually his women who are tough, manipulative, and full of lust for crime. The men tend to be suckered in by their seductive charms.

Serenade centers around a down and out opera singer, John Howard Sharp. He is so down on his luck that he's been singing in a small club in Mexico, before, even they, kick him out. His luck seems to change when he meets a cheap whore, whom he falls with. His love for her causes his once faultering voice, to come back. What follows is a transcontinental series of adventures cataloging John's skyrocket rise in both movies and the New York opera, and his subsequent fall.

There is plenty to like about Serenade. Cain's terse, cynical prose moves across the page like a song. He accurately portrays John's love and hatred for his Mexican whore. There are plenty of nice character moments. Moments that give just the right details that give meaning to ordinary events. Much of the "action" of the story revolves around the little moments of life: sitting in a room talking to friends, stroking the hair of a girl, listening to music. Cain understands that much of life is filled with these types of moment and that great changes and meaning can be found in them.

Before Cain became a writer, he was trained as a singer. In part, this novel seems to be an attempt for him to allow his musical knowledge and training come to some use. Throughout the book John converses about, or describes internally, music he likes and hates, musicians, and his own singing. Some of this is vitally important to the story, for he is a professional singer, and the plot concerns his successes as such. Yet it is so infused with information that it, at times, feels more like a trade magazine than a proper story. At only 136 pages, it is superfluous to fill so many with discussions on Puccini and Mozart.

There is a revealing moment about John's character in the last third of the book. Even while reading this in 2005 it seemed shocking. Yet it is treated with aplomb, handled with an experts hand. The feelings that arise out of the character seem true, if no entirely kind. It is also interesting to see how that particular issue was handled at that time.

Overall, Serenade is an interesting read. It is well written and the characters are well drawn. However, if you have never read anything by James M. Cain, I would recommend picking up The Postman Always Rings Twice and then Double Indemnity before I began reading this

[...] ... Read more

8. Serenade (Crime Masterworks)
by James M. Cain
Paperback: 224 Pages (2005-03-17)
list price: US$14.45 -- used & new: US$9.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0752861751
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Serenade is the story of the eternal triangle - with a difference. John Howard Sharp is an American opera singer down on his luck, having just bombed in Rigoletto in Mexico City when he first encounters the beautiful Mexican-Indian prostitute called Juana. Miraculously, she offers him the chance to rebuild his career in Hollywood and New York but then Winston Hawes, the young, rich and well-connected conductor who had first launched Sharp, comes back into his life with terrible consequences. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Overreach.
Fantastic evocation of down and out-er in Mexico; but the plot becomes so unbelieveable insofar as a hobo miraculously becomes a Hollywood star only to scorn a 3 movie contract for stupid reasons. Cain tries too hard maybe to blend Chandler and Hemingway. This also shows the limitations of 1st person narration.Eventually, I couldn't stand the "Then I did this. . . Then I did that" so many times on the same page.Runs around too much to get to a fairly predictable ending.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cain was able.
Serenade by James M. Cain, the story of an opera singer, has an ambitious, over-the-top plot.A plot which, quite befittingly, could be turned into a pretty good modern day opera.
As the novel opens, John Howard Sharp, once the toast of Europe because of his magnificent operatic voice, is now penniless in Mexico.He meets and falls in love with an illiterate prostitute who turns his life around.Together, they enter the United States, where Sharp's singing ability again brings him fame and wealth.But, Sharp carries the seed of tragedy within him and by novel's end tragedy is in full bloom.
Had Serenade been written in today's world, it would correctly be criticized as homophobic and racist (toward Mexicans).But, when first published in 1937, it must have been described as risque and avant garde.This is a bold, full speed ahead example of fiction writing.Despite its over-the-top storyline, Serenade is well worth reading.

2-0 out of 5 stars a very strange, ..and not very good..., effort by James M. Cain
'Serenade' is one of the oddest books I've read, and unfortunately it is not among the author's better efforts.Although quite readable and, at fleeting moments, very interesting I found 'Serenade' to be a rambling mess.The characters were not well developed, or believable, and the plot was absolutely ludicrous.I think it would be merciful for fans of James M. Cain, and indeed mankind, to let 'Serenade' and his equally miserable 'The Butterfly' go quietly out of print.

Oh, let me add some words about the plot.We have a washed up American opera star trying to scratch a living in Mexico, circa 1935.He meets a prostitute, falls in love, then brings her back to America.Miraculously his voice is restored to Caruso-level brilliance.Oh, they then run into misadventure.And we also discover our opera star had a homosexual dalliance with a rich British promoter.Shock, horror, boredom.

Bottom line: a real mess.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice descriptive writing, but dated and awkward
I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book, although the racist epitaphs and negative descriptions of Mexicans and other foreigners were turning me off. But I was enjoying the flavor and style of the book. There are some really beautiful, poetic passages; The one in the church during the rainstorm, and his emtpy attempt to reinforce his sexuality with a prostitute. However, in the last third, where the plot took a left turn into the writers latent homosexuality (All men have 5% of that in them!) and his mexican prostitute/lover's reaction to that, the book completely lost me. The book immediately seemed dated,and the whole plot twist seemed awkward and forced. It pretty much ruined the book for me as far as the change of tone, and the whole ridiculousness of the twist. But, for 1937 I guess it was 'daring' and risque'. By todays standards it seemed pretty silly and naive. I like Cain, but this won't be on my top shelf. Nicely written and paced, but kind of like watching "Reefer Madness".

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Cain's Best-- Completely Unclassifiable
Everyone should read three James M. Cains: "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "Double Indemnity," and "Serenade."His writing reached its peak with these three.The first two are hard-boiled and terse and nasty, and they move like bullets to their sordid ends.But "Serenade" is almost lyrically operatic, in keeping with the soap opera that is the protagonist's love life.This tremendously forward-looking and unpredictable (and brief and economical) book melds a number of Cain's loves into a tapestry of nearly ludicrous proportions.Read it!You won't be disappointed. ... Read more

9. James M Cain: 4 Complete Novels
by James Cain
Hardcover: 651 Pages (1988-12-12)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$98.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 051736249X
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10. The Five Great Novels (Picador Books)
by James M. Cain
 Paperback: 640 Pages (1985-12-06)

Isbn: 0330291130
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11. Packed and Loaded: Conservations with James M. Cain
by James M. Cain, John McAleer
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-05-25)
list price: US$7.17
Asin: B003O68FYU
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In these never-before-published interviews, the author of Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Mildred Piercediscusses his first notions to be a writer, his newspaper days, his Hollywood years, and Marilyn Monroe with brutal honesty and in a tone and vernacular that only a master like Cain could command. Also in this critical, tell-it-like-it-is study, Cain reveals his thoughts on Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Arthur Miller, Hammett, Chandler, and, in his eighty-fifth year, what he planned for his future.

Packed and Loaded is James M. Cain “unplugged”, at his finest. The manuscript is seasoned with original epigraphs about this major American writer from masters like Elmore Leonard, Sue Grafton, Robert B. Parker, Dennis Lehane, Peter Lovesey, Phil Lovesey, Edward D. Hoch, Katherine Hall Page, Robin Moore, William G. Tapply, and the grand master of mystery himself, Rex Stout.

John McAleer graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in English Literature and was the author of over a dozen books, including an Edgar Award-winning biography of Rex Stout. He was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Emerson. He wrote critically-acclaimed studies of Thoreau and Dreiser, as well as a definitive novel on the Korean War, Unit Pride. ... Read more

 Unknown Binding: Pages (1988)

Asin: B001K2N9QE
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13. Two Novels by James M. Cain: The Embezzler [and] Double Indemnity
by James M. Cain
 Hardcover: Pages (1936)

Asin: B003TOX0NI
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14. James M. Cain: Three Complete Novels: The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce
by James M. Cain
 Hardcover: 399 Pages (1994-10-23)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$9.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0517118580
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Three complete works by a best-selling author encompass themes of suspense, human lust, greed, and self-absorption, and include The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity. ... Read more

15. Butterfly, the V52
by James M. Cain
Paperback: Pages (1982-01-12)
list price: US$2.25 -- used & new: US$34.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394750527
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cain's Second Best Book
You must read this book for the last sentence. It is the best ever written. Don't skip ahead, just take the time, read it and get to that beautiful, perfect sentence. You won't be diasapointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars A man who falls in love with his own daughter.
This story is vey interesting and unbelievable.It's about a man name Jess who was separated from his own daughter when she was just a baby.After many years have past, they both met each other by his house having a conversation.Jess fell in love with her without knowing that she's his own daughter, and goes for her.I rate this boo an "8" because of it's uncommon story that can never be accepted in our society. ... Read more

16. Three Novels by James M. Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity
by James M. Cain
 Hardcover: 469 Pages (1969)

Asin: B0007HZ2AY
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17. The Moth
by James M. CAIN
 Hardcover: Pages (1950-01-01)

Asin: B001N8DFDW
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18. For Men Only: a collection of short stories
by James M., editor Cain
Hardcover: Pages (1944)

Asin: B000H1IP6I
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19. The Postman Always Rings Twice & Double Indemnity
by James M. Cain
 Hardcover: Pages (1988-01-01)

Asin: B002A473AY
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20. Cain: The Biography of James M. Cain
 Paperback: 704 Pages (1987-05-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$22.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0809313618
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

“I never knew a writer who regarded [writing] as anything but a refined form of crucifixion.”—James M. Cain


Although Cain was formerly dismissed as merely a hardboiled writer, his finest works—The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity—are now considered enduring classics of American literature.


In this book Roy Hoopes gives as full a picture of the man and his life as will ever be written. The work was awarded an “Edgar” by the Mystery Writers of America.


... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Cain - The Biography of James M. Cain
Roy Hoopes makes "Jamie" Cain come alive. He
delves into his drinking, womanizing, four marriages,
his struggles with writing, money, and health. Still
he was one of the most successful writers of the "Golden
Age" of American Literature (1925-1940). One should read
one of his three best-selling novels, "The Postman Always
Rings Twice", "Double Indemnity" or "Mildred Pierce before
taking on this biography. ... Read more

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