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review 2017-11-05 00:00
Double Indemnity
Double Indemnity - James M. Cain Yikes! I read this on one day, and I read at only half the speed required for success in college, or so I was told back in my youth. Well, it was short, but also compelling. Not something one could easily put down once begun. Cain is a good author, if you like noir-y kinds of things. This is about as noir-y as it gets. A nice change from the heavier kinds of things I'd been reading.

So, an insurance agent, Walter Huff, makes a call on a client, Mr. Nirdlinger, who isn't home. Nirdlinger's wife, Phyllis comes down to meet Huff, and Huff is immediately smitten. Together they hatch a rather convoluted plot to insure Mr. Nirdlinger against accidental death with a double indemnity clause that kicks in should the accident occur in specific ways, such as being killed by an accident on a train. So, we get lots of plotting and practice.

Then, it seems, Phyllis has a 19-year old step daughter, Lola. Huff becomes rather enamored by Lola. Lola has a boyfriend, Nino, who may or may not be a sketchy character. Apparently, he is finishing up his Ph.D. in chemistry, but there are other things about him which may or may not be savory. Suffice to say the Nirdlingers did not approve of the alliance in the least.

Well, I could go on, but I can't write a plot summary nearly so well as Cain can write and flesh out the plot itself. One would be best to head for the nearest library, or book store if you prefer, and snag a copy. This is a true gem one should not miss.
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review 2017-10-22 00:00
The Cocktail Waitress (Hard Case Crime)
The Cocktail Waitress (Hard Case Crime) - James M. Cain Apparently, this is a "lost novel" by Cain, which was only unearthed, edited, and published some 35 years after his death. I'd read some Cain previously, and very much loved Mildred Pierce. While, The Postman Always Rings Twice was ok, it wasn't all that special. I've yet to find Double Indemnity on kindle in a local library (now I have, and it's on hold). Anyway, I got this book thanks to my new library card with the Woburn Public Library, and it was great. Up there with Mildred Pierce, I think.

So, we have a young woman, Joan Medford, relating her experiences in the few years after her abusive husband, Ron, killed himself by driving into a bridge abutment (I think it was that, something hard anyway). Ron was a chronic drunk and an abusive husband and father. He routinely beat up Joan and their son, Tad, who was 3-years old at the time of the telling.

It seems that Ron's sister, Ethyl and her husband Jack, covet Joan's son, Tad. Ethyl had a medical problem and is sterile. Ethyl and Jack take Tad off with them, because Joan must find a job to support herself and Tad. But Ethyl also wants to make the caretaking of Tad permanent, so begins a whispering campaign to the police that Joan slipped something into Ron's last drink, implying that Ron was actually murdered.

One of the two cops investigating the case is desperate to pin the murder on Joan, the other gives her a tip as to how to find a job. He suggests she head down to the Garden of Roses and ask Bianca, the proprietress, for a job. Bianca starts to make Joan a waitress, but Liz, in the bar sees that Joan would be a hit in the bar. In the bar, they wear skimpy clothes, showing lots of leg and cleavage, and the better the leg and cleavage, the better the tips. Joan has the most amazing set of gams in creation, or something like that. She becomes an instant hit, and both Liz and she prosper.

Well, she makes the acquaintance of Walter K. White III, a widower, who is richer than Midas and who takes rather a shine to Joan. He wants to do something "nice" for Joan. She also meets Tom Barclay, who is so handsome that he gets her motor running, so to speak. But Walter has money, and that money would be a great help in getting Tad away from Ethyl. Tom has animal magnetism, but little money. Something like that.

Well, all kinds of things happen, many not so good, but Joan is smart, able to withstand hardship, and a rather interesting character. Then too, those legs! So, if you're into noir fiction at all, this stuff is nectar. If like my spouse, you like cozy "mysteries", with cutesy titles, little reality, and it's mostly tea, muffins, and village greens, then this might not be your cup of tea, so to speak.
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text 2017-09-18 22:49
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
Double Indemnity - James M. Cain

‘He’s not happy. He’ll be better off – dead.’

‘Yeah?’

‘That’s not true, is it?’

‘Not from where he sits, I don’t think.’

Alright, they have known each other for about 5 minutes, are plotting a murder, and a life together.

 

It's so outrageously inconceivable that it is rather hilarious. Not sure if Cain meant it to be so goofy, but I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. 

 

Also, they have been drinking. Tea. They have been drinking tea. So, for all of you who are still sobering up from The Thin Man, this may be a worthy alternative.

 

I can't promise, tho, that the characters or plot won't get stupid. So, far they just crack me up. ;D

‘I’m not crazy, and I’m not joking, and you’ve heard of such a thing in your life, because it’s all you’ve thought of since you met me, and it’s what you came down here for tonight.’

‘I’ll not stay here and listen to such things.’

‘OK.’

‘I’m going.’

‘OK.’

‘I’m going this minute.’

‘OK.’

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text 2017-09-17 19:53
Reading progress update: I've read 9%.
Double Indemnity - James M. Cain

But all of a sudden she looked at me, and I felt a chill creep straight up my back and into the roots of my hair. ‘Do you handle accident insurance?’

 

This is not suspicious at all. 

 

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text 2017-09-17 14:38
Halloween Bingo - Classic Noir
Double Indemnity - James M. Cain

Having had so much fun seeing the posts for the Classic Noir buddy read, I am looking forward to starting Double Indemnity. I love the Barbara Stanwyck film and am rather excited to finally read the book. 

 

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