Other books byJames M. Cain
The Baby in the Icebox
and Other Short Fiction
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.
Career in C Major
and Other Fiction
From a famous tough-guy writer, a collection of shockingly funny stories Ever since she got married, Doris has regretted giving up her singing career. After years of domestic drudgery, she decides to take one last crack at becoming an opera singer, even if it means sacrificing everything for the sake of her dream. Her contractor husband is fully supportive, having no idea that the family’s true musical genius isn’t Doris—it’s him. In this and other stories in Career in C Major, James M. Cain shows off a light comedic touch that will surprise readers who are familiar only with his crime novels The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. But Cain had been publishing funny stories, articles, and satire since his early days as a reporter for H. L. Mencken’s Baltimore Sun, and was just as comfortable writing about singers as he was about killers. This collection of Cain’s lighter work shows that if an author is tough it doesn’t mean he can’t crack a smile.
Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness. She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men, and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter. Out of these elements, Cain creates a novel of acute social observation and devastating emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.
The Postman Always Rings Twice
An amoral young tramp. A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband. A problem that has only one grisly solution--a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve. First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic of the roman noir. It established James M. Cain as a major novelist with an unsparing vision of America's bleak underside, and was acknowledged by Albert Camus as the model for The Stranger.