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The Baby in the Icebox: And Other Short…

The Baby in the Icebox: And Other Short Fiction (1933)

by James M. Cain

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Collected short and not-so-short pieces with informative introductions by Roy Hoopes. These stories, while grounded in their time and place, are concurrently timeless and universal expositions on humanity and the human condition.

A passage of particular note in "The Taking of Montfaucon" is one of the most moving descriptions of the battlefield experience I've ever read.

"The first [dead man:] we seen was in a trench, kind of laying up against the side,what was on a slant. And he was sighting down his gun just like he was getting ready to pull the trigger, and when you come to him you opened your mouth to beg his pardon for bothering him. And then you didn't." ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
  Brenada | Sep 6, 2015 |
Although James M. Cain is largely remembered for his novels of the 1930s and 40s, he started his writing career with short stories. The present work includes most of his published short stories in addition to his novelette, "The Embezzler".

This volume includes some real gems, including "The Baby in the Ice Box" itself, a work which (like "Postman...") expresses Cain's lifelong interest in jungle cats (sneak preview: the baby in the story survives, which is more than can be said of another character). Another is "The Birthday Party", a touchingly sad coming - of - age story that shows how far beyond the noir genre Cain's talents extended. Various other worthy stories are included, although some are mainly of historical interest.

Of particular value to fans of Cain's work are the biographical / historical essays included herein; they were written by Roy Hoopes, who edited this volume and who published a full biography of Cain in 1982. I have learned a lot about Cain from this work, and gained a deeper appreciation for his career as a writer. ( )
8 vote danielx | Nov 24, 2007 |
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A collection of stories, both early and late, that show how James M. Cain made his name There is a hungry tiger loose in the house, and that is not good news for anyone. A jealous husband let the animal out of his cage hoping he would eat his wife alive, but tigers aren’t used to taking orders. This jungle cat will get his meal, and he doesn’t care where it comes from. “The Baby in the Icebox” begins with a murdered wildcat and ends with a dead human—and what comes in between is some of the most striking prose James M. Cain ever put to paper. It is one of the first stories this master of crime fiction ever wrote, and it shows all the hallmarks of the novels that would later make him famous—namely Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. The tales in this collection are short, but Cain never needed more than a few pages to thrill.… (more)

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