Thursday, November 22, 2012


I finished reading JEALOUS WOMAN by James M. Cain yesterday. As much as I liked Cain's THE COCKTAIL WAITRESS, I really didn't care for this slight, forgettable mystery novel.
First published in 1950,  JEALOUS WOMAN isn't a noir thriller with a doomed protagonist. It's a real mystery novel set in Reno, Nevada involving two insurance agents, two attractive women and two dead men. The most remarkable thing about this story is the appearance of ace insurance investigator Keyes, who played a part in Cain's DOUBLE INDEMNITY. This is a short book (more novella or novelette in length) and it's full of the clumsy dialogue that seems to plague Cain's work. I'm sorry but people just don't talk this way, even in 1950. The mystery is finally solved, the identity of the real killer revealed and there's a happy ending for two of the main characters.
This is far from Cain's best work and is recommended only to absolutely die-hard fans who want to read everything he wrote. It's not bad, just terribly routine and average. I expected and wanted more. 

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