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James M. Cain was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1892. Having served in the US Army in World War 1, he became a journalist in Baltimore and New York in the 1920's. He later worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Cain died in 1977
A classic American novel, published to tie-in with a major new SKY series starring Oscar-winning Kate Winslet - on Sky from 25th June 2011. A new edition of Serenade by the same author can be viewed here.
First published in 1934, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE caused a scandal with its explosive mix of violence and sex, and immediately became a bestseller. The torrid story of Frank Chambers, the amoral drifter, Cora, the sullen and brooding wife, and Nick Papadakis, the amiable but inconvenient husband, has become a classic of its kind, and established Cain as a major novelist with a spare and vital prose style and a bleak vision of America. THE AUTHOR James M. Cain was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1892. Having served in the US Army in World War 1, he became a journalist in Baltimore and New York in the 1920s. He later worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Cain died in 1977.
Frank Chambers ist ein Rumtreiber, und er ist abgebrannt. Eines Tages landet er vor einem Diner irgendwo imkalifornischen Nichts, betrieben vom Griechen Papadakis und seiner schnen jungen Frau Cora. Ihren Ehemann kann Cora nicht leiden, den Rumtreiber Frank dafr umso mehr. Ein Problem, das nur eine Lsung kennt, eine Lsung, die viele Probleme nach sich zieht. Solche, fr die es keine Lsung gibt. Schwrzer als bei James M. Cain war die Welt selten. In diesem No Man's Land regieren die Skrupellosigkeit, die Gier nach Sex und nach Geld. Jeder ist sich selbst am nchsten. Erlsung gibt es keine. Unerbittlich und in unvergleichlich pointierter Prosa treibt Cain seine Antihelden ins Verderben.
Seventeen hardboiled crime stories from the poet of the tabloid murder and author of Double Indemnity (Edmund Wilson). They call him Lucky-but he has never had a lucky day in his life. A nineteen-year-old hobo just starting to ride the rails, he is hiding in the coal car when the railroad detective comes through. They get into a scuffle, and Lucky's hand finds a railroad spike. Before he knows it, he has smashed the investigator's head and shoved him out of the car. If he hurries, if he's lucky, he will get back to Los Angeles in time to establish an alibi, burn his clothes, and avoid the electric chair. But as Lucky will discover, the deadliest threat is lurking within his own mind. Dead Man is just one of the outstanding stories included in this volume. The author of some of the most hard-boiled prose ever written, James M. Cain understood fear in all its forms-and knew better than anyone the terror of a killer on the run.
Seventeen gripping tales from one of the toughest authors in the history of crime fictionThey call him Lucky - but he has never had a lucky day in his life. A nineteen-year-old hobo just starting to ride the rails, he is hiding in the coal car when the railroad detective comes through. They get into a scuffle, and Lucky's hand finds a railroad spike. Before he knows it, he has smashed the investigator's head. If he hurries, he will get back to Los Angeles in time to establish an alibi. But as Lucky will discover, the deadliest threat is lurking within his own mind. 'Dead Man' is just one of the outstanding stories included in this volume. The author of some of the most hard-boiled prose ever written, James M. Cain knew better than anyone the terror of a killer on the run.
A Bad Woman (originally titled Sinful Woman) is James M. Cain's little gem of a hard-boiled novel, set in the post-War 1940s of Reno, Nevada. Film star Sylvia Shoreham is wowing the dusty gambling town and is hell-bent on divorcing her conniving user of a husband, a foreigner with a slick tongue and a heavy accent. But the husband has other ideas, threatening to marry Miss Shoreham's neurotic sister if she divorces him. Hollywood bigwigs want to keep the movie star making the pictures that make them millions. And then there's a gun in the room and a dead husband. Did Sylvia do it? Or was it an elaborate suicide? Everyone has a beef and a motive and an angle and it's largely up to Sheriff Parker Lucas, the laconic lawman who keeps order in his town, to unspool the tangled web. Told in James M. Cain's typically taut and terse prose with deadpan dialogue and bruising plot twists, it's a novel by the noir master that is often over-looked in favor of the better known The Postman Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, but offers its own tantalizing tale. This book, like all Chalk Line Books titles, contains 10 illustrations, these by Martha Kelly. A Bad Woman is another fine addition to Chalk Line Books' growing roster of great vintage crime fiction.
One man sells his soul to save an innocent -- who turns out not to be so innocent after all. Graham meets Sonya outside of his real estate office. She is sixteen, beautiful, and showing just the right amount of leg. He's ruminating on those legs when she drops the bombshell -- she's there because Graham's brother, Burl, raped her, leaving her frightened, pregnant, and very much alone. She was spending the night with a friend when two boys and a case of beer turned a quiet evening into a hellish orgy. All she wants is the $1,111 it will cost to spend the next few months in a convalescent home, then give the baby up for adoption, but Burl won't give her the money. Sonya's vengeful father, meanwhile, wants far more money from Burl, to pay for harming his daughter. Graham offers Sonya a better choice: He'll marry her so that she can get a legal abortion. This moment of twisted generosity will change his life forever -- but he has no idea that, as he asks for Sonya's hand, he is signing away his soul.
While searching for her father, a runaway stumbles into a deadly mess . At thirteen, Mandy was too old for spanking when her stepfather first took her over his knee. She's didn't mind the pain, but hated the look in his eye and his lingering hand. By the time she's fifteen, this young spitfire can't take any more of his unwanted groping. With seventy-four bucks in her pocket, she packs her things and buys the bus ticket that will change her life. She meets Rick at the bus stop -- a handsome young thug who's a few days removed from his last bath. He's charming and sympathetic, so she buys him a ticket and, on the ride to Baltimore, tells him that she's going to find her real father. But wouldn't it be better, Rick suggests, to greet Daddy in style? Of course, a mink coat would cost a little money, but Rick knows just where to get it. His plan is daring, foolish, and highly dangerous. What teenage runaway could resist?
A hijacker and his hostage escape to a very strange, very dangerous farm. Since his father died, every Saturday night has been the same for Dave and his mother. She starts by talking -- aimless, weird fantasies about get-rich-quick schemes that never come to anything -- but finally she goes silent, and that's when Dave becomes afraid. Mom has a way of getting very close that is repellent and appealing all at once, and he's terrified of where it might lead. One Saturday, a noise outside breaks the silence. A hijacker has escaped his stolen plane with a parachute, a hundred thousand dollars in cash, and one very frightened stewardess. The thief thinks he's gotten away with it, but he doesn't know what Dave's mother will do for an easy payday -- and a chance to make her son a happy man.
Out of jail and back at work, a boxing trainer finds a woman worth fighting for. It took some doing, but Duke Webster is out of prison. Val Valenty arranged the parole, and now the onetime boxing coach is his puppet, breaking his back on Valenty's farm in exchange for a pittance. But Valenty is about to find out that boxing men never take orders without a scrap. The trouble starts when Webster meets Valenty's wife. A barrel-shaped woman whose extreme weight makes her old before her time, Holly stays fat on Valenty's cooking -- meat, potatoes, and endless gravy. Webster puts her on a diet, slimming her down the way he would an over-the-hill pro in search of a comeback. But as her waistline shrinks and her beauty emerges, Valenty gets jealous -- putting them on course for a bloody confrontation where only the hungry will survive.
For the love of a beautiful waitress, a meat salesman will turn butcher. Clay Lockwood enters the Portico with corned beef on his mind. He's a top distributing executive with Grant's Meats, and the contract with the Portico restaurant chain is only the latest in a long line of boardroom coups. He comes for lunch, and eats his fill of his company's beef, but leaves with an entirely different hunger gnawing at his gut -- a volcanic passion that will tear him apart. The hostess's name is Sally Alexis, a magician's wife whose rough-hewn charm mesmerizes this magnate of meat. She rebuffs his first pass, but calls him up later, to explain her situation and plead for tenderness. Although her marriage is miserable, she's won't leave her husband because she wants to secure an inheritance for her little boy. As the lovers get closer, Lockwood becomes an amateur illusionist himself, focusing on one very particular trick -- how to make a magician disappear.
While slinging hash in a diner, a would-be Cinderella meets her Prince Charming. Carrie Selden is not at all like the woman you've read about in the papers. Though she was raised in an orphanage, she isn't an orphan. She didn't finish high school until she was nineteen, but that was because she was working as a waitress, not because she was slow. And though she's very cunning, well, she's no femme fatale. But her beauty . . . oh yes, her beauty is everything you've heard. At twenty-one, she takes her savings and moves to New York City, landing a job at a diner called Karb's, at the bottom rung of the restaurant chain's tall corporate ladder. Though she makes minimum wage, Carrie is savvy, and it isn't long before she starts to climb. When her coworkers unionize, they choose her as president, and from there, the sky is the limit. But just as the union gets underway, she meets a mysterious intellectual named Grant -- who will either help her rise to the top, or drag her straight down to hell.
A salesman, a would-be divorcee, and an insurance policy turn toxic in Reno. Vegas is a city of lovers, but in Reno, the business is divorce. Six weeks in Reno can erase the darkest marriages, and the only question is how to pass the time -- craps or roulette? Jane Delavan is a roulette woman, a stately beauty from back East who's too classy for the motel where she's shacked up. She's come for a divorce, but her husband has other ideas. He wants an annulment, and in exchange offers to take out a $100,000 insurance policy on himself -- just in case something happens to him before their paperwork goes through. Jane is cunning enough to make sure that, if she wants something to happen, it will. Ed Horner is the insurance agent sent to settle the agreement, and it doesn't take long for Jane to settle him. They fall in love over twenty-five-cent roulette, and soon get a bigger score in mind. In the Biggest Little City in the World, a king-size scheme is brewing.
A starlet comes to Reno to start a new life -- and end her old one forever. Sylvia Shoreham's Hollywood dreams came true long ago. Critically beloved for her beauty, talent, and style, she was on her way to international stardom when a bad contract committed her to seven years of trashy comedies and half-baked melodramas. Her marriage to her producer husband has become a rotten, loveless sham, so Sylvia's silver screen life verges on a nightmare. To escape her celluloid hell, she's got only one option: Forget Hollywood. It's time for a Reno vacation. She comes to Nevada hoping for a divorce from her husband, Vicki, and an end to her contract, but the ugly side of the business follows her. To protect herself from Vicki, she enlists Nevada's biggest Sylvia Shoreham fan. He's six feet tall, strong as a mule, and just happens to be Reno's sheriff. When her divorce turns into a war, this Hollywood icon will be glad to have him on her side.
An academic looking for money finds a woman and trouble instead. Professor Lloyd Palmer loves a good biography. His fantasy is to start an institute to teach young scholars the biographical arts, and it will take old money to make his dreams come true. Around Washington, the oldest money is found not in the District, but in Delaware, a land of wealth so astonishing that even the Du Ponts are considered nouveau riche. But when the professor goes to Wilmington, he comes away not with old money, but young trouble. Her name is Hortense Garrett. She is his benefactor's wife, a twenty-something beauty trapped in an unhappy marriage, whose good looks conceal the most cunning mind this side of the Potomac. She needs a ride to Washington, and Lloyd offers to give her a lift. They've barely left Delaware before he falls for her. By the time they hit the Beltway, his biography will be in her hands.
A Union army invalid meets a comely Louisiana rebel and never looks back. The Union has captured New Orleans, and Bill Cresap has come to reap the profits. A school friend has a line on some easy money, and Cresap is eager to turn carpetbagger. But when he lands in the Crescent City, still nursing a leg wound from Chancellorsville, he finds that his friend has vanished and taken their start-up capital with him. Just when despair threatens to overpower him, Mignon Fournet arrives to overwhelm him instead. A Creole widow with rebel sympathies and hopeful eyes, she has come to Cresap in desperate need. The army has arrested her father and she will do whatever it takes to find out where he's detained and what he's charged with. She begs Cresap to use his army connections to find him. Cresap soon discovers that Mignon's father shipped supplies to the Confederate commander; he could pay for treason with his life. Dazzled by the flirtatious Mignon, Cresap agrees to help free him. Although the veteran's army days are behind him, his war is just starting to heat up.
A Confederate spy risks his life to win the heart of a fallen woman. Early in the Civil War, the Confederacy sends Roger Duval to Sacramento, to keep an eye on the situation in California in hopes of turning the Western territory towards the Southern cause. It's a plush assignment, well out of the line of fire, but Duval hasn't been there long before he comes into mortal danger. On a swim in the Sacramento River, he gets knocked on the head by a paddleboat, and is drowning in the muck when Morina, a quick-witted woman of the night, tosses him a rope. Suffocated by instant, irresistible love, Roger follows Morina to her home turf: Virginia City, Nevada. For the miners, gamblers, and gunfighters who populate this hardscrabble town, her price is negotiable. But for a man in love, she charges a thousand dollars. Roger will sacrifice body, mind, and soul to get that money -- but will his sacrifice be enough to make her love him?
A sweeping tale of love, loss, and the pursuit of beauty during the Great Depression. From birth, Jack Dillon is a golden child. Blessed with blond locks, glittering eyes, and a perfect voice, he is the most popular child singer in Baltimore. But when puberty robs him of his voice and the stock market wipes out his family fortune, Jack is forced to rebuild. Over the next fifteen years, Jack will see it all. From Maryland to California and back again, he will become a football star, a soldier, and a tramp. Through it all, he never loses his eye for beauty, or his hunger for a woman he has known since childhood. To find happiness in the face of the Depression, Jack will have to remember that no matter how the world has changed him, part of his soul remains as pure as the first note he sang.