Review: James M. Cain – Double Indemnity

double-indemnity-james-m-cain-e1336595513384Well, it turns out that I was a little confused between Double Jeopardy and Double Indemnity, so the slight idea that I had about this book was completely wrong! Whoops!

In any case, the book was very good even if it was pretty short (130 pages). It was written in 1936 and you can tell through the style of the writing. It made a refreshing change though from the books that I usually read, better writing and still just as much plot.

The book is about an insurance salesman called Walter who falls in love with a woman called Phyllis and sparks a plot to murder her husband and take the insurance money. They manage to pull off the murder with a complicated but very well thought out plan and everything seems to be going well until the insurance company decide not to pay out the money on the grounds that it wasn’t an accident, but either suicide or murder.

Walter then strikes up a friendship with Phyllis’ step-daughter Lola (the daughter of the poor murdered man), and finds out that Phyllis has previously murdered other people in order to get their money, including Lola’s mother. He realises that he can’t trust Phyllis to keep quiet about his involvement in the murder, so plots to kill her and make it look like an accident.

It’s another well thought out plan, but the one thing he didn’t consider was that Phyllis might try to kill him too. He ends up in hospital with a bullet in his chest, and it looks like Lola will take the blame for pulling the trigger. He has fallen in love with Lola and can’t stand the thought of her being incarcerated or hurt by the policemen, so tells the full truth about everything that has happened, in fact, it turns out that the entire book has been his confession letter.

His colleagues at the insurance company can’t risk the news getting out that one of their salesman was involved in the murder of a client to fraudulently claim the money, so they arrange for him to get on a ferry and run away. But little did he know that Phyllis would be on the ferry too. The book ends with Phyllis and Walter jumping off the side of the boat to their death to avoid being captured and handed in to the authorities.

A very strange book with an unexpected ending, but one that I enjoyed a lot. It was completely different to what I usually read, but I’ve had a lot of books like that since I started my reading challenge this year, and on the whole it’s been a good experience.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: