Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain

The Postman Always Rings TwiceFinished 10-25-09, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 1934

“I’m not what you think I am, Frank.  I want to work and be something, that’s all.  But you can’t do it without love.  Do you know that, Frank?  Anyway, a woman can’t.  Well, I’ve made one mistake.  And I’ve got to be a hell cat, just once, to fix it.  But I’m not really a hell cat, Frank.”

“They hang you for that.”

“Not if you do it right.  You’re smart, Frank.  I never fooled you for a minute.  You’ll think of a way.”

Chapter 3

Frank is not the first man to fall for the damsel in distress and do things that he never would have though of on his own and he probably won’t be the last.  Frank is a drifter, catching rides when he can, and picking up jobs until he moves on and Cora is married to the Greek, Nick, who owns a roadside diner and auto shop.  It doesn’t take long for the sparks to fly and a plan of murder to be hatched.  When things go wrong the lies and double crosses make it hard to know how this short novel will end.

This is noir (crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings“) at it’s best.  Cynical and bleak mark the setting, plot, and dialogue.  I loved that the dialogue showcased the feeling of the character rather that just putting words in their mouth to move the story along.  I had to read between the lines to figure out what was going on much of the time and I loved that.

That being said, I’m not sure that noir is something I can ever quite love.  I appreciate the fact that it was well done, but it is a little too dark for me.  I have the movie on my DVR and I’ll have see if that gives a different view of the book.

This was from my personal library.

November 8, 2009 - Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | ,


  1. I’ve never watched the movie nor read the book, so I will be interested to know how you felt the translation from book to movie went.

    Comment by Staci | November 8, 2009 | Reply

  2. Sounds good. I have this to read!

    Comment by Sassy Brit ( | November 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. I like when everything isn’t spelled out for the reader. I’ll be interested in what you think about the movie too.

    Comment by CeeCee | November 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. I’ve always meant to read this, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve never seen the movie, either.

    Comment by Carol | November 9, 2009 | Reply

  5. I love that cover, I like the concept, but noir isnot for me either.

    Comment by fleurfisher | November 10, 2009 | Reply

  6. yea I would probably go with the movie too. I tried The Maltese Falcon. Never saw the movie, but tried the book, and that didn’t work out for me.

    For some reason I enjoy the movies. Loved The Maltese Falcon.

    Comment by jennygirl | November 10, 2009 | Reply

  7. […] The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain was chosen by Joseph Finder.  “If you haven’t yet read it, or haven’t read it in a while, you’ll be surprised at how well it holds up.  The prose is lean and spare, completely stripped of ornamentation or affection.  It reads like the confession that it reveals itself to be.”  You can find my thoughts here. […]

    Pingback by Books to Die For edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke « Stacy's Books | October 29, 2012 | Reply

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