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Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

Double Indemnity (original 1936; edition 1989)

by James M. Cain

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1,168336,931 (4.07)96
Title:Double Indemnity
Authors:James M. Cain
Info:Vintage (1989), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 115 pages

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Double Indemnity by James M. Cain (1936)


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Huff, an insurance agent, meets Phyllis, a lonely housewife at home. She’s ready for action: she wants to murder her husband. There’s more to the story than that, as there always is with this type of thing, but all the fun of this novel is the finding out. Nothing beats the ending, though: death incarnate looms over a man, like the moon, which is a thief: it steals its fire from the sun; although in itself, the moon is dead, waxen, an inert body always staring, always staring. That is, the dark side of the moon rises w/o being seen. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
The book the movie with Fred McMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson is based upon. I liked Keyes. He called it like it was but he could not prove it. I cannot say I liked the book better than the movie. There are changes in the movie but the story line is similar. The endings are different but both are plausible endings. I'm glad I read it. It is one of the few books of which I do not hate the movie. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Mar 17, 2016 |
Easy to read book.
Insurance salesman falls for a woman commit a crime but who is playing who.
Short simple book wrote in the 1930s LA ( )
  Daftboy1 | Mar 16, 2016 |
It's a pretty creepy story. Want to watch the movie again. Bill Wilder. ( )
  idiotgirl | Dec 26, 2015 |
When small time insurance man Walter Huff meets Phyllis Nirdlinger, her beauty quickly seduced him. The wife of a wealthy oil executive convinces him to help get rid of her husband, but not before a substantial policy was taken out on him. Accident insurance often causes suspicion but when Phyllis’ husband dies from what looks like a train accident, double indemnity kicks in and Walter’s bosses suspect foul play.

James M. Cain is the master at noir with books like The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce and recently The Cocktail Waitress was released posthumously. Double Indemnity is one of his most notable pieces of work and was adapted into the 1944 classic film noir movie of the same name. The movies screenplay was written by fellow master of pulp Raymond Chandler and has been dubbed culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant by the US Library of Congress.

Double Indemnity is a clause often found in accident insurance policies where the issuer agrees to pay double (or more) if the accident happens in certain conditions. It is often used to make the policy more appealing but applies to low risk incidents. Death by train accident is one of these examples and when Phyllis’ husband died in these conditions the insurance company was naturally suspicious.

This classic pulp novel follows Walter Huff who plots the perfect murder all for the beautiful Phyllis Nirdlinger. What he didn’t count on was that he was seduced into helping a femme fatale and now he was under her thumb. In true James M. Cain style, Double Indemnity holds nothing back, both in style and plot. Everything you expect in a 1930s noir novel can be found in this thrilling novella.

This is a re-read for me of Double Indemnity and I must admit I was so happy to return to the style of James M. Cain. Everything you expect from the pulp style and dialogue can be found within this classic story. I know I need to dive into some more of Cain’s novels, with some re-reads and completing his bibliography. I have no words to describe the feeling of returning to a much-loved author and I know I need to re-watch the movie. If you have never read Cain or anything from the classic pulp genre, then you can never go wrong with a book like Double Indemnity.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2015/06/29/double-indemnity-by-james-m-cain/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Jun 29, 2015 |
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I drove out to Glendale to put three new truck drivers on a brewery company bond, and then I remembered this renewal over in Hollywoodland.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679723226, Paperback)

When smalltime insurance salesman Walter Huff meets seductive Phyllis Nirdlinger, the wife of one of his wealthy clients, it takes him only minutes to determine that she wants to get rid of her husband--and not much longer to decide to help her do it. Walter knows that accident insurance pays double indemnity on railroad mishaps, so he and Phyllis plot frantically to get Nirdlinger on--and off--a train without arousing the suspicions of the police, the insurance company, Nirdlinger's dishy daughter, her mysterious boyfriend, or Nirdlinger himself. This brief but complex novel is a perfect example of the ordinary-guy-gone-disastrously-wrong story that Cain always pulls off brilliantly.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Walter Huff is an insurance investigator like any other until one day he meets the beautiful and dangerous Phyllis Nirdlinger and falls under her spell. Together they plot to kill her husband and split the insurance. It'll be the perfect murder... Double Indemnity is the classic tale of an evil woman motivated by greed who corrupts a weak man motivated by lust.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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