Summary

Tautly narrated and excruciatingly suspenseful, Double Indemnity gives us an X-ray view of guilt, of duplicity, and of the kind of obsessive, loveless love that devastates everything it touches. First published in 1936, this novel reaffirmed James M. Cain as a virtuoso of the roman noir.
©1936 James M. Cain (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By L on 02-05-18

Classic Noir

The narration left a little to be desired, but this was a fun read nonetheless. Short and tense, with enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes. I need to go rewatch the film now.

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5 out of 5 stars
By JB on 28-03-16

James Naughton is perfect for Noir

Love this book, the story is clever and full of quotable lines...the film was excellent and James Naughton narration suits this genre.
Love it!!!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Alicia Czechowski on 12-06-13

Cain, still the crime master!

Double Indemnity; when Cain is good, he is brilliant. Who else writes crime like this-sudden and gripping? Not word that doesn't drive the story forward with a you-are-thereness few writers can rival. Crime in Cain's novel is like an impulsive, illicit passion, when it's done, the partners separate in mutual disaffection. The intricate insurance scam and murder plot is masterful. Cain's style is odd yet apt and he can write dialogue with the real rhythm of speech and remarkably, Cain's language doesn't feel dated. I found that the terse, controlled tone of the narrator, James Naughton, exactly suited Walter Huff, telling us just how it was, his nightmare venture into crime.

And Audible, bring us MORE of the fabulous James M. Cain!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 05-12-14

Straight down the line good

Would you listen to Double Indemnity again? Why?

I have already listened to this several times -- sometimes as soon as I have finished it I start it from the beginning again.

What did you like best about this story?

Double Indemnity (the original) is my favorite movie, and although I knew that the story was quite different (I knew some of the twists that the movie left out so they didn't surprise me), I had not expected it to be this good. Seeing Phyllis -- and her doomed husband-- Lola, Nino, Norton and especially Keyes through Walter Huff's embittered eyes adds a dimension to them that the narration in the film doesn't really show. This doesn't take anything away from the film, and I am glad that Billy Wilder had the sense to stay out of the weeds that this story takes its readers into.

Which scene was your favorite?

There were a couple of them that were not in the film. The scene in which Phyllis and Walter are bickering in the car after the murder was a hoot. (She tries to throw him out of the car and he threatens to "sock" her.) The scene in which Barton Keyes figures out how the murder was arranged and blows his stack over how Norton had botched the claim was a close second.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Don't. It's been done to perfection already. (The remade Richard Crenna/Samatha Eggar/Lee J. Cobb version was awful.)

Any additional comments?

Sometimes that narrator seemed to slip into what I can only call "a Goodfellas accent." It was rather jarring and sporadic, but this is just a small quibble in what was generally a riveting and well-told story.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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