Double Indemnity (CRIME MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 21 Mar 2002
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[A] fine idea for a series... They already have a superb noir backlist.. but adding Philip K Dick's Minority Report and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? improves the mix. (SCOTSMAN) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
James M. Cain's crime masterpiece.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I had heard of 'noir', but was never really sure of what it stood for or encapsulated. However, after reading Double Indemnity I have a much better understanding. The book is written in a way I have never encountered before. The sentences are sharp, direct and to the point. Cain wastes no words. I think this is one of the only novels I have read where I have not found any extra padding. The author says all that he needs to say and nothing more, and this shows by the novel covering barely 130 pages. The only other Author I am familiar with that even comes close to this is Cormac McCarthy. You feel every word, sentence, comma and full stop was placed there for a reason. If I had to describe the novel I would say it is like McCarthy but with little descriptive prose and less flamboyancy with the language. I know many people may disagree with this comparison, but as I was working my way through the pages I kept thinking how similar they are in the way they ensure every single word adds something to the readers experience.
The plot of the novel is pretty much straightforward, an insurance salesman meets the wife of a businessman and together then conjure up a scheme whereby they can sell and then claim on his life insurance. A plan is hatched that they both consider foolproof, but as the novel progresses small mistakes begin to unravel into larger issues and the pressure mounts.Read more ›
So to summarise if you like film-noir you will like this book.
Of course, it's classic noir and, of course, James Cain is a maestro of the hard-boiled genre. However, the film does this book a lot of favours. The motivation given to the two key protagonists is flimsy. The most credible character turns out to be the claims negotiator Keyes, with his firm belief in 'actuarial tables..hunch..instinct..experience'.
Mr Cain builds the tension well, especially through the execution of the crime. The downcast tone of the narrator seeps through the story. It positively reeks of Depression America.
For potential purchasers I would also suggest you fight shy of the full RRP of £ for an edition that is massively bulked out to 135 pages with a couple of pages of routine introduction by James Lee Burke.
" She looks like what came aboard the ship to shoot dice for souls in the 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner." (James M. Cain: "Double Indemnity")
Cain starts his murderous tale in similar fashion to his first book, The Postman Always Rings Twice, but the plot here is even darker and more complex. As usual, Cain does not waste a word and the action hurtles along at breakneck speed, taking some delicious turns on the way to a superb conclusion. Cain was at the peak of his powers here - Mildred Pierce here I come!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's some time ago now, but the book seemed and the recipient was and is still pleased with it.Published 11 months ago by JCB
The book echoes the feel of the classic film noir. Muddied morals played out to an unforgettable conclusion.Published 11 months ago by DudleyH
The tight, spare writing of this novella (136 pages in my edition) reads as fresh today as in 1936 after the author reported on a notorious murder trial in New York. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Adrian Maxwell
Noir at it's very best. If you've seen the superb film then you will know how this feels, but the written word has a cute humour and sly dark wit that sometimes gets lost in... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Dylan35
I read this book because I had a distant memory of watching the original movie with Barbara Stanwick and Fred MacMurry I wanted to see how different it was from the film by that... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Alex Willis
I saw the popular film and always wanted to read the book. I finally got around to it and I can say I was not let down. The book is great. Read morePublished 23 months ago by John Carter
Wonderful book. Loved the original film and the remake. Good service from seller.Published 23 months ago by Margaret Martin