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James M. Cain
James M. Cain Enlarge Photo

Photo © 2002 (illustration) Michael J. Balzano

  • About this Author
author spotlight

James Mallahan Cain (1892 - 1977) was a first-rate writer of American hard-boiled crime fiction. Born in Baltimore, the son of the president of Washington College, Cain began his career as a reporter, serving in the American Expeditionary Force in World War I and writing for The Cross of Lorraine, the newspaper of the 79th Division. He returned from the war to embark on a literay career that included a professorship at St. John’s College in Annapolis and a stint at The New Yorker as managing editor before he went to Hollywood as a script writer. Cain’s famous first novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, was published in 1934 when he was forty-two, and became an instant sensation. It was tried for obscenity in Boston and was said by Albert Camus to have inspired his own book, The Stranger. The infamous novel was staged in 1936, and filmed in 1946 and 1981. The story of a young hobo who has an affair with a married woman and plots with her to murder her husband and collect his insurance, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a benchmark of classic crime fiction and film noir. Two of Cain’s other novels, Mildred Pierce (1941) and Double Indemnity (1943), were also made into film noir classics. In 1974, James M. Cain was awarded the Grand Master Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Cain published eighteen books in all and was working on his autobiography at the time of his death.

author bookshelf
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Exam Copy
Double Indemnity

Written by James M. Cain


Format: Trade Paperback, 128 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: May 14, 1989
Price: $13.00

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 1935, this novel reaffirmed James M. Cain as a virtuoso of the roman noir. Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Double Indemnity

Written by James M. Cain


Format: eBook, 128 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: January 5, 2011
Price: $9.99

Read more >
Also available as a trade paperback.

Exam Copy
Mildred Pierce

Written by James M. Cain


Format: Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: May 14, 1989
Price: $14.95

Mildred Pierce (1941)

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... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Mildred Pierce

Written by James M. Cain


Format: eBook, 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: December 29, 2010
Price: $11.99

Read more >
Also available as a trade paperback.

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Written by James M. Cain


Format: eBook, 128 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: November 3, 2010
Price: $9.99

Read more >
Also available as a trade paperback.

Exam Copy
The Postman Always Rings Twice

Written by James M. Cain


Format: Trade Paperback, 128 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: May 14, 1989
Price: $14.00

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... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, and Selected Stories

Written by James M. Cain


Format: Hardcover, 632 pages
Publisher: Everyman's Library
On Sale: July 22, 2003
Price: $26.00

These three classics from the master of the noir novel, along with five otherwise unavailable short stories, are electric with the taut narrative voice, the suspense, and the explosive violence and eroticism that were James M. Cain’s indelible hallmarks.

The Postman Always Rings Twice, Cain’s first novel—tried for obscenity in Boston, the... Read more >

Exam Copy
Three by Cain
Serenade, Love's Lovely Counterfeit, The Butterfly
Written by James M. Cain


Format: Trade Paperback, 464 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: May 14, 1989
Price: $18.95

All three books are written with an enduring view of the dark corners of the American psyche. Cain hammered high art out of the crude matter of betrayal, bloodshed, and perversity. Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Three by Cain
Serenade, Love's Lovely Counterfeit, The Butterfly
Written by James M. Cain


Format: eBook, 464 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: April 27, 2011
Price: $13.99

Read more >
Also available as a trade paperback.
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