James M Cain
July 1, 1892
Annapolis, Maryland, United States
October 27, 1977
Hyattsville, Maryland, United States
Novelist, Screenwriter, Reporter
Kate Cummings, Aileen Pringle, Elina Sjosted Tyszecka, Florence Macbeth, Mary Rebekah Clough
Though he disavowed any association with the hardboiled or noir style of writing, author James M. Cain was one of its leading architects. His best novels, which included The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce and Double Indemnity, helped to establish the tenets of the style in both novel and film form through stories of outsiders and misfits whose interactions with each other, spurred largely through sex or greed, ultimately lead to their destruction. Cain's lean prose, which was fraught with lust and violence, became a favorite source for Hollywood noir, and some of the best films of the genre were based on his work, including the 1946 version of "Postman," Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" (1944), and 1945's "Mildred Pierce" with Joan Crawford. Cain continued to publish well into the 1970s, and his best novels kept him in print for decades after their release, and ensured his place among the great thriller writers of the 20th century.