Hard-Boiled Mysteries: Authors and Sleuths; A Quiz Deck
Sample Card Text
This author is noted for telling tales of sex, violence, and crime from the perspective of a man driven to wrongdoing by the woman he craves. Who was he?
Author, reporter, and screenwriter James M. Cain (1892–1977) gave the noir genre two of its great classics in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, both of which also became classic films. In Postman, Cain introduced his signature plot, which became a mainstay of noir fiction and film: a man overcome with hunger for an irresistible woman is disillusioned, abandoned, and ultimately destroyed by the object of his desire. Femme fatale Cora Papadakis bewitches drifter Frank Chambers, sparking a torrid love affair and a scheme to murder her husband. This best seller, which author David Madden dubbed “the quintessential tough guy novel,” typifies the substance of Cain’s canon, in which unremittingly wicked characters trigger a chain of unfortunate events. Madden also called Cain “the twenty-minute egg of the hard-boiled school.” Though he vehemently objected to being typecast as a crime or mystery novelist, Cain broke new ground in these genres. In 1970, he was named Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America.