Double Indemnity Paperback – May 14 1989
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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.
[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 alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Written as a first person narrative by the insurance agent, the writing is tight, spare, and lean. No word is wasted. Yet, the minimalism works to the advantage of the story, as it makes the intricacy of the plotting clear to the reader. Having seen the film with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in the lead roles, I kept hearing Fred MacMurray's voice in my head as I read the book. While the film deviates from the book in a number of ways, it is classic film noir at its best and well-worth viewing. Likewise, the book is a classic in its own right, and those who like hard-boiled crime fiction will not be disappointed.
"Double Indemnity" tells the disastrous story of one Walter Huff. An insurance salesman working a route in California in the 1930s, Huff spends his days trying to get clients to increase their insurance holdings. His life changes for the worse when he calls on a household where he falls under the poisonous charms of Phyllis Nirdlinger, the wife of a wealthy oil executive.Read more ›
James M. Cain is one of the indisputable greats of crime noir novels, and he also wrote the terrific "The Postman Always Rings Twice." The plot is fast-moving, and I love Cain's stattaco writing style. He also includes so much great detail, such as the "blood red curtains" in Phyllis' living room. Further, Cain makes the action very believable and doesn't overlook any plot holes, which is not always the case in this genre. I really liked this book.
Having said that, I think that the movie (1944, directed by the peerless Billy Wilder) is even better than the book. I know that's blasphemous, but the movie is one of the all-time great American movies. Read the book and don't miss the movie either!
POSTMAN's drifter is now a cocky insurance salesman (Walter Huff) who thinks he can both beat the odds and get the girl (Phyllis Nirdlinger), and -- why not? -- her daughter Lola as well. If you know anything about Greek tragedy, you can bet that the hubris mechanism is ready to spring into action with jaws agape.
James M Cain writes a tight novella that can easily be consumed in a single sitting. It's just that you feel you've been watching cockroaches mate from a great height. Few of Cain's novels show the least sign of sentiment, let alone liking, towards their characters. Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder's script for the film is actually far superior because the character of Keyes is developed into a moral center around which the story unrolls. (It also helps that Cain's INDEMNITY has a really gonzo ending.)
Nonetheless, Cain is what he is -- and his stories are always worth reading. But do see the Billy Wilder movie version!
Most recent customer reviews
'Double Indemnity' by James Cain is about a big time insurance fraud involving murder. The story takes place in 1920s Los Angeles with the criminals being an insurance agent and a... Read morePublished on Aug. 7 2003 by lazza
In many of the reviews for Double Indemnity, you will find it called a novel or a fiction piece. In reality, James Cain wrote Double Indemnity about the 1920's murder case of Ruth... Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2002 by F. Edwards
This is another of those James M. Cain novels that you can read in an hour with one hand tied behind your back.
Let me try that again. This is another of those James M. Read more
Double Imdemnity by James M.Cain
it is love at first sight Mrs nirdlinger is in love with Mr Huff. Read more
... I liked this novel even though i'm not into reading mysteries but I really recommend this novel to all. 5 star's!!!!!!!!Published on May 22 2002 by danielle
... I think other schools and anybody should read this book because it is fun to read and it gives good imagery in people heads when they read this novel. Read morePublished on May 22 2002 by Gerardo Lu
the scene I picked is when they killed Mr Nirdlinger. why i choose this scene was the one that cought my eye. but i dont like this book.Published on May 22 2002 by Shakyrha Blocker
Title: Double Indemnity
Author: James M. Cain
Key Moment: When Miss Nirdlinger (Lola) tells Mr. Read more