Double Indemnity ~ by James M. Cain

Interesting book which, although I’d certainly heard of many times, I’d managed to miss reading or seeing the movie (I don’t often go to movies).

Double Indemnity
by James M. Cain
1946 / 224 pages 
read by James Naughton. 3h 16m
rating:  A+ / crime  – noir

First published in 1943 it’s definitely noir of the Los Angeles variety.  Not as good as Raymond Chandler and I won’t compare to other LA detective novels – of which there are many and I’ve not read more than a good sampling.  I also think it’s better than other 1940s detective fiction set elsewhere – but again,  except for Chandler (my fave).  

So it’s hard-boiled in its own way, fast-paced with minimal, no-nonsense dialogue (“Just the facts, Ma’am.”) which seems somewhat racist in places (but wasn’t for that era).  There’s a tough guy attitude about the first person protagonist, Walter Huff, who is an insurance agent and actually that’s the case with all the characters except the young adult daughter of a major player.  The other fascinating character is the insurance-buying wife of the murder victim.   

There’s a twisted plot for a 129-page novel (novella), but it was originally a short story (1936?).  It’s been made into several movies and is still not a regular “sale” item on Amazon or Audible.    

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