1936. A spare suspenseful story that grabs you from the opening scene.
Insurance agent Walter Huff calls on oil executive client Mr Nirdlinger to renew his policies. Mrs Nirdlinger answers the door in her bathing suit. Huff is hooked. The dame knows it.
What follows is a taut tale of murder, guilt, and betrayal. Why Huff, a reasonably successful agent, falls into the clutches of the femme fatale is never really explained. He just falls. Hard. And does her bidding. He’s as successful at murder as he is at selling insurance: a knowledgeable planner who gets all the details straight.
But he can’t plan for what he doesn’t know. And he doesn’t really know Mrs Nidlinger.
At only 115 pages, James Cain created “An American Masterpiece,” according to Ross Macdonald, another master. Every scene, every word, is carefully crafted to lead you to the inevitable and surprising conclusion.