Double Indemnity, by James M. Cain

Another Cain! I really like this guy’s work.

This book is more like The Postman Always Rings Twice than Mildred Pierce, because there’s more murder plotting, but it of course still has that don’t-trust-charismatic-people aspect to it. So good.

And the murder plotting here is EXCELLENT, because the murderer fellow, who is again offing a lust-object’s husband, is an insurance agent and he knows what has to be done to make a murder play out like an accident. So there is lots of planning and trickery and secrets.

But of course there are more secrets than just this planned murder, as our murderer discovers AFTER he’s done all this work, and those combined with the fact that he works with at least one good insurance agent who has totally figured out that there was a murder but can’t quite prove it make this novel wonderfully suspenseful.

The ending is great as well; it combines a few excellent surprising endings that I’ve read before and makes them more interesting. It’s just a good time all around!

Also, just a few pages into this book I realized that I had watched the movie version in my freshman English class, though I didn’t remember it terribly well because I’m pretty sure the noir voice-over aspect put me to sleep. Definitely a more gripping book.

Recommendation: Good for those who like suspense and slowly unveiled evil characters, and also those who would like tips on planning a perfect murder.

Rating: 9/10
(RIP Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

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Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

2 thoughts on “Double Indemnity, by James M. Cain

  1. Mary says:


    For real. I have not read the book, so I cannot say how the movie/book paragone works here… but the movie is one of the best examples of noir that you can ever possible imagine (unless you hate Barbara Stanwyck as much as my dad… in which case, stick with the book).

  2. Alison says:

    DUDE. I did watch it, six years ago, and I wasn't too big a fan of the noir. I really just remember thinking the story was interesting, which it was and still is (and it's almost exactly the same story as the book, I'm pretty sure). 🙂

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