Double Indemnity

By James M. Cain,

Book cover of Double Indemnity

Book description

Walter Huff is an insurance investigator like any other until the day he meets the beautiful and dangerous Phyllis Nirdlinger and falls under her spell. Together they plot to kill her husband and split the insurance. It'll be the perfect murder ...

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Double Indemnity as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I have loved this novel since first reading it in college—probably when I should have been studying for exams! 

Double Indemnity is one of the first and best American noir novels and served as the basis for the 1944 film by the same name. The novel taught me about the classic noir trap: a basically good but flawed man helps a basically bad but attractive woman in an effort to murder her husband, the good/flawed man hoping to end up with both the woman and the money.

But things seem fated to go wrong, and what starts out as a…

Double Indemnity is an American noir crime novella written in the 1940s. From the opening words, the reader is taken into the life of the protagonist, a gullible salesman who becomes entangled with a married woman. When she turns out to have more on her mind than adultery,  he is seduced into becoming involved in a terrible crime. The narrative voice is both convincing and compelling, leading the reader along a devastating journey where the outcome eventually seems inevitable. 

From Leigh's list on wanting to read about murder.

I am constantly telling people that if they haven’t seen Billy Wilder’s 1944 movie, Double Indemnity—based on James M. Cain’s 1943 novel and generally regarded as the first film noir—they owe it to themselves to rectify that situation as quickly as possible. What even many film scholars don’t always realize is that it’s based on one of the most sensational murder cases of the Jazz Age. In March 1927, a pair of middle-aged adulterers—a love-starved Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her milquetoast paramour, Judd Gray—murdered Snyder’s husband in his bed, then ransacked the house to make it look…

From Harold's list on inspired by true crimes.

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